TIP: Gift Cards for Bail Scam

Recently scammers have been disguising themselves as a family member in trouble, and asking for giftcards to bail themselves out of jail.

They use the excuse that they are sick, or have a cough so that the voice may sound different than what is familiar. They then attempt to explain that they had been in trouble and have ended up in jail, that they cannot tell anyone else in the family, and that they lost their phone in the process, thus they are using the new number. The caller disguised as the family member then asks for a large amount of gift cards to help get out of jail.

These callers know a lot of information about the victim including family names, phone numbers and addresses. They use this to trick the victim, insisting that they are a family member based off of the knowledge they have. These scammers often prey on older generations, assuming they are more naive to technology. Immediately hang up on these callers, and consult other family members on the situation.

To protect yourself and your family members, be sure to never share personal information unless there is an absolute need and you verify the person you are speaking with. Also, be aware of the information that you post online – be cautious of social media websites where you may information such as hometown, employment and family names. Scammers use these websites to use against you when they call. Also, scammers have been frequently turning to gift cards as their source of payment. If someone over the phone is demanding gift card payment, it’s possibly a scam.

Report your experience to the FCC online by clicking here or by calling 1-888-382-1222. You also can report this and other scams to my office using the Report a Scam Portal.