Police in Pawtucket and Warwick are warning residents about a phone scam.
They say the victims are talked into sending large amounts of money overseas.
According to police, the scam works like this. The caller tells the victim that a relative has been in an accident. The caller demands cash as soon as possible for repairs and says the victim's relative will be held hostage until payment is made. The caller further states that if payment is not received or if the police are contacted the relative will be harmed.
Police said investigations have shown that the money is usually wired outside the United States.
Anyone who gets a similar should write down the caller's number from caller ID, if possible, and call police.
Warwick police provided this advice for avoiding a scam:
- Do not provide information over the phone. Scammers often ask leading questions to retrieve information from you. Often, you do not realize that you are giving them valuable information, e.g.: "Do you have a son?"
- Scammers create a sense of urgency. Slow down and ask the caller for detailed information and a contact number. Tell the caller you will call them back. Then, attempt to verify the caller's story by calling family and/or friends.
- Remember that scammers often use a technique called "spoofing." Spoofing provides a fictitious number to a caller ID display.
- Do not send money. Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash. Once you send it, you can't get it back.
- Most importantly, contact police immediately if you believe you are a victim of a telephone scam.