Phone scam in New York aims to extort victims

The New York State Attorney General's Office is warning about a phone scam in New York that tries to scare people into paying a ransom for a family member. (MGN Online photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WHAM) - The New York State Attorney General's Office is warning about a phone scam in New York that tries to scare people into paying a ransom for a family member.

Several reports have been filed with the AG's Office in the last few days based on people living in the Syracuse area receiving calls.

In the call, the scammer claims the victim's relative was in an accident that injured the caller's nephew, who does not have insurance to pay any bills. The caller claims to have taken the victim's relative and demands money, often trying to scare the victim into cooperating by having a woman cry in the background or claiming to be a drug dealer.

Sometimes, the scammer uses names and addresses of the person they are calling to make the call seem more legitimate. If the victim hesitates at all, they threaten to shoot the victim's relatives.

So far, no one has paid any of the scammers money. In addition, no family members of any of these victims were actually harmed in any way.

“These scammers are preying on New Yorkers’ worst fears in a shameful attempt to turn a quick buck,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “I’m asking all New Yorkers to be on high alert and to contact the police immediately if they receive such a call.”

Schneiderman warns scammers will try to keep you on the line, so never give out your personal information, use gift cards to pay anyone, or wire money to anyone.

If you receive a call like this one, you should immediately call police.

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