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Sheriff’s Office Warns of Phone Scam Targeting Grandparents

Published: 7/26/2019

For More Information Contact:

Lieutenant Shawn Castano

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division is investigating a phone scam targeting grandparents.

Victims are receiving phone calls from individuals disguising their voice and identifying themselves as the victim’s grandchild. The caller claims to have been arrested and jailed on drug charges, says that they can’t talk long and that they need assistance. The caller provides a call back phone number and then the phone call is terminated.

The grandparent then calls the phone number back and someone identifying themselves as a local law enforcement officer answers the phone. The grandparent is told that bail for their grandchild is $8,000 to $10,000 dollars. The grandparent is then offered a discounted bail amount of $2,000 to $3,000 dollars if it’s paid immediately.

The grandparent is directed to go to their local pharmacy or supermarket and purchase several thousand dollars’ worth of eBay gift cards in amounts ranging from $250 to $500. The grandparent then calls back and is told to scratch off and provide the redemption codes from the gift cards.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following tips for people to avoid these types of scams:

  • No law enforcement agency or county jail accepts gift card redemption codes as payment for bail.
  • No law enforcement agency or county jail provides discounted bail if “paid immediately”.
  • If someone calls you and tells you that a relative has been arrested or is in jail, call other relatives or a legitimate law enforcement agency for confirmation before sending any money. If they’re posing as a relative, try and contact that relative for confirmation.
  • If an unknown person calls you asking for money, for any reason, that may be an indication that it’s a scam.
  • If there’s any doubt about a phone call you’ve received, contact the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office at 845-486-3800 before sending any money.

This investigation is ongoing. If anyone has any information regarding these incidents or if you are a victim of this crime, you are urged to contact Detective Kurt Twaddell at 845-486-3828 or via email at The Sheriff’s Office can also be contacted via the tip line at 845-605-CLUE (2583) or email at, and all information will be kept confidential.