Palestine Police are warning senior citizens of a phone scam in the Palestine area.

A person has been reported calling and saying that a family member has been jailed in a foreign country and will be released by sending money. Usually by wire transfer, gift card or re-loadable debit card.

Palestine Police Sergeant Justin Willoughby said, "The people perpetrating these offenses are banking on the victim reacting emotionally and hastily. They will use the family member’s name, the victim’s nickname used by the family member, or even resort to bullying or threatening the victim and victim’s family. They do this to elicit an emotional response from the victim so that the victim does not see through the scam. Usually, the victim is so upset about the situation that they just follow the instructions that they are given, and once the money is sent then they start to call around and check on the family member, only to find out that the family member has never left the country in the first place. Trying to locate the family member needs to be done first, as this will usually end the scam before it even gets started.”

Willoughby suggests that if you receive one of these calls to remain calm and try to contact the family member that the caller says is in jail. Also, be suspicious if the caller is asking for payment by gift card or re-loadable debit card, as these are hard to track.

If you have received one of these calls or received something in the mail that is questionable, or have been victimized, contact your local police.

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