Glenville residents victimized by phone scam


Another scam targeting older adults has hit Glenville, this time hitting too close to home for one of the two latest victims, town police say.

The latest scams involve telephone calls from unknown individuals, informing the targets that their child or grandchild is in trouble and in need of bail money, according to Glenville police. The callers have identified themselves as a state or court bondsman, police said.

In one of the cases, a person described by police as a “mule” went so far as to travel to one of the victims’ home to collect the money, according to Glenville Police Chief Stephen Janik.

“It adds an extra layer of danger,” Janik said.

One of the victims was scammed out of $20,000 while the other was swindled for $15,000, police said.

Janik said Friday these types of scams are not new, but the modus operandi employed in the latest ones is troubling.

He said one of his officers investigating these two cases indicated others have happened in the Amsterdam and Saratoga County areas.

“There are known suspects,” Janik said in regard to the people picking up the money.

Janik said the department didn’t have much of a description of the suspect. The person was only described as a middle-aged man and dressed in all black.

Janik said the offender would be charged with grand larceny. Unfortunately, he said, it’s unlikely that the “mule” will readily identify the individuals above him in the scam operation. And that doesn’t get to the root cause of the problem, he said.

He said many times these scams originate out of a different country where they have computer bars with the sole purpose of targeting people. In most other instances, the money is sent via money transfer or in the forms of gift cards, he said.

Information regarding these scams has been given to the FBI, Janik said.

“But I’ve never heard of anyone on the top end getting caught,” he said.

For Janik, raising awareness about the scam so it doesn’t happen to anyone else hits close to home. Janik said his father received a similar scam call. In that call, he said, someone told his father that his granddaughter had been hurt in a car crash in Canada and they needed the money to help her. Thankfully, Janik said, his father knew what to do and said he’d call the person back, hung up and called Janik to investigate.

Janik said anyone receiving a phone call like this should either hang up or tell the person they’d call them back and then go investigate to make sure it isn’t a scam.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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