State police: ‘Alarming increase’ in phone scams in Virginia

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There’s an “alarming increase” in phone scams targeting seniors and convicted sex offenders, according to Virginia State Police.

State police said in a news release Thursday scammers are threatening people into paying hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

The release said one of the prevalent scams involves callers claiming a relative has been arrested and jailed, and needs money to be bailed out.

The scammers can be convincing by providing personal information about the relative, including their date of birth, address and social security number, the release said.

State police said they are also getting calls from convicted sex offenders who say they are being told there is a warrant out for their arrest.

In both cases, scammers are reportedly instructing victims on how to make these payments — usually, it’s through an “eGift” cash card or similar method.

Anyone receiving a call like this asked to hang up and call their local police department or Virginia State Police.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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