SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Schenectady Police are reminding community members to be on the lookout for a phone scam making its rounds in the area. The calls use fear tactics to get people to pay scammers pretending to be officials. Commonly, these tactics include saying you or a loved one has to pay fines or be arrested.
Police say that these criminals will get people to pay in money orders or gift cards to avoid charges or a warrant being issued.
A Rotterdam resident reported that they had gotten a call similar to the above scam. They say that someone called pretending to be Chief Clifford with Schenectady Police. Police say the caller, claiming to be the chief, said they were calling due to an issue with the victim’s Social Security Number. The caller said the victim would be arrested if they didn’t pay a fine in gift cards.
Schenectady Police say neither them, or any other legitimate agency, would call someone to collect fines and would never ask for gift cards. This excludes collection agencies, who may call asking for money but would never threaten arrest.
Police say if you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of the request, you can always call the police department or agency claiming to be contacting you. Do not call the number that popped up on your caller ID back, instead, look up the number for the agency yourself.
They also warn that scams can come in the form of emails. Never click a link in an email you suspect to be suspicious. Again, contact the business or agency reaching out to you directly.