By GABRIELLA BOCK |Reporter
Palisadian Steve Carroll is warning others that he was the latest target of a type of phone scam that is currently sweeping all corners of the nation.
Armed with an elaborate plan and extensive knowledge of his personal life, a team of criminal callers attempted to steal upwards of $3,000 from The Village resident.
It all started on Friday, June 23, when Carroll received a telephone call from a person posing as a court official with a New York City jail.
The caller told Carroll that his son had been taken into custody and needed money to secure his release.
The scammers then asked to speak with Carroll’s partner, Susan, before directing the couple to contact their bail bondsman.
Already wary of the mysterious caller, Carroll hung up and immediately phoned his son.
The call confirmed his suspicions: His son was still on the West Coast.
“These guys were ready and well-rehearsed,” Carroll told the Palisadian-Post. “The information they had on me was thoroughly researched, so I can see why others have fallen for this type of scam.”
More distressed calls came the following morning, this time with a different voice on the line.
“The caller told me that they were a bondsman with the county jail and instructed me to go to my nearest Walmart so that I could wire transfer them the funds,” Carroll explained.
Instead, Carroll turned to the LAPD.
“We reported the information to Officer [Michael] Moore,” he continued. “Apparently, this wasn’t the first time this has happened around here.”
On April 26, a 91-year-old Huntington resident was conned out of $4,000 after a caller tricked him into believing that his grandson had been arrested and needed money to post bail.
It’s a form of “virtual extortion” where scammers prey upon vulnerable victims who have been convinced that someone they love is in trouble.
Victims, along with their family history and phone number, are found through white-page searches, online directories and social media accounts.
Due to a lack of tangible evidence, criminals involved in these types of scams are rarely caught as they use prepaid cards and phone lines to conduct their business.
Investigators are still looking for the suspects in both of these cases, but have so far come up empty-handed.