POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office warned residents of Dutchess County and surrounding areas Friday about scams that once again seem to be on the rise. The latest scam, say police, involves the scammers posing as representatives of law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s Office received two calls about this scam on April 20 and April 22, and in both cases, the perpetrators identified themselves as law enforcement and tried to convince the victim that a relative was in trouble and needed money. This method used the victim’s emotions against them, often saying the family member was seriously hurt or was in jail, and needed the money right away.

The Sheriff’s Office offered the following tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Real law enforcement would not attempt to satisfy a warrant or make promises to avoid prosecution by soliciting money.
  • If you receive an email about an order you didn’t place or asking you to send money, call the company using a legitimate number.
  • DO NOT follow the instructions in the email, click on any links in the email, or call the number provided in the email.
  • If someone asks you to purchase merchandise, transfer money, provide bank information, or enter a code given to you by them, use caution as it is likely a scam.
  • Do not meet up with someone that you don’t know; if you’re asked to do this it is surely a scam, and it is very dangerous as well.
  • If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know asking for money, for any reason, that’s a signal that it’s most likely a scam.
  • If someone calls you and tells you that a relative has been hurt or is in jail, confirm it first before sending any money. Call other relatives or a legitimate law enforcement agency for confirmation before any money is sent. If they’re posing as a relative, try and contact that relative for confirmation.
  • Sending money overseas is especially risky; use extreme caution.
  • Ask the person for their call back number and ask to speak to their supervisor to confirm the info; if it’s a scam they will most likely hang up at this point and the number they give you will be bogus.
  • If the person is telling you that a loved one is in the hospital or jail, find out which one and contact the institution yourself to confirm.
  • If a loved one has recently passed away be wary; in some cases, perpetrators have even preyed on victims by searching through the obituaries and calling surviving loved ones. If you get calls from people you don’t know soon after someone passes away, be careful and confirm it before you send any money.
  • In some cases, someone will call and tell the victim that they’ve won money, but to “process the claim” they need to first send money. Beware this is most definitely a scam and don’t send any money – you should never have to pay money to claim a prize. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • If there’s any doubt about a phone call or email you’ve received contact the Sheriff’s Office before sending any money.
  • Scams tend to increase during the holiday season, be especially alert for them during those times.

It is very important not to send money to anyone you don’t know until you’ve confirmed their identity through an independent source and feel comfortable with it. Once the money is sent to a scammer, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to get it back. If anyone thinks they have been a victim of a scam, they are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (845) 486-3800 or via the tipline at (845) 605-CLUE or dcsotips@gmail.com.