Scams for “bail money”

My family was almost the victim of a scam being run out of Arkansas yesterday.  Here’s the rundown:

The scammer called my dad and, impersonating my brother “with a broken nose and a cut up lip”, told my dad that he had been in a car accident, was in jail, and needed $4500 bail.  My dad is in pretty rough shape, has high blood pressure, and had a stroke a little over a year ago.  He drove all the way into the city to tell my mom and I, who had just gotten back from a walk with my nephew, that my brother was in trouble.  The scammer had given my dad a phone number “for my brother’s lawyer”.  I called this so-called lawyer at the number given and the scammer, after “verifying some information”, said that my brother had been in a two-car collision with a woman six months pregnant and under observation who was now in the ICU and had said that my brother ran the red light and hit her while on his cell phone in our state capitol.  We live five hours from the state capitol, by the way.  I continued to play along and asked where he was.  He stated that he was at the courthouse and the scammer asked if my brother was known to drink alcohol.  I replied that he never drinks alcohol, and then the scammer quickly came up with the story that my brother was in the capitol for a funeral.  He said that bail would be $3800, which is not what my dad had been told.  There was no way that my brother would be in the capitol five hours away for a funeral that he hadn’t told my family about on a day that his wife had to work the night of.  The scammer said that the money had to be a direct bank transfer and to call him back in 10 minutes and he’d have the information for me.  I took his name and number and had my mom write it down.

I promptly called my brother, who answered his cell phone and was at work at his shop right here in town and was at lunch.  He was not in an accident, not in jail, not in need of bail, not injured, and not in the state capitol.  My dad took the information that I’d gathered over to my  brother at his shop and my brother immediately filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, then called the “attorney” back.  The scammer had better run for his life…

So, if you receive an odd phone call like this, DON’T SEND ANY MONEY!!!  Call your family member directly and find out what the situation is.  Then report it so that they can track the scam artist down.  This scammer got tracked down within an hour of my brother filing the complaint.  Hopefully he goes to jail for a good long time.

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