Sonora, CA – The phone rings and the person on the other end says a family member has been arrested and their bail must be paid immediately.
It is the “bail scam” that has been around for years and remains in practice — because it works. Several Tuolumne County residents have learned the hard way, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Andreas Benson. “Our office has taken several reports this week of monetary losses.”
Those losses have been in the thousands of dollars details Sgt. Benson, who advises, “First off, call your family member. Secondly, call the agency that they claim is holding your family member.” She adds, “With a bail bondsman you have to do that in person and sign a contract. Also, unfortunately, if you purchase gift cards or wire money to pay the thief – it’s gone.” The only time a bondsman will call, relays Sgt. Benson, is to send this message where there is no other means to get a hold of family, but they do not ask for money over the phone.
A key warning sign it is a scam, according to Sgt. Benson, is if the caller tries to intimidate or even threaten you. Several popular scams have been hitting the area, especially with this being tax season, they include the IRS, social security and warrant scam. Sgt. Benson recommends hanging up as the best way to combat the cheaters. Further details on those scams and additional prevention tips can be found in an earlier story here.