Have you ever gotten a strange call from a loved one who is claiming to have gotten arrested and needs bail money? It gets even stranger when he or she says that they do not want you to tell anyone else in the family about the incident. If you have ever gotten a call like this, think twice before sending the money, it could be a scam.
Lately, scammers have taken to contacting people and claiming to be relatives in need of bail money. Often times, the scammer will claim to be out of the state, or even the country, where that relative would normally be. They ask for a large amount of money to be wired to them right away, and that you do not talk to anyone else in the family about the incident. That should raise some red flags for you.
The first thing you should do in this situation, is ask as many questions as possible. You want to try to verify the identity of the caller. Ask questions that only your loved one would know, but be wary. If this particular loved one is fairly active on social media, the scammer will have access to some of this information.
The best thing to do, is the very thing that the caller tells you not to do: talk to the rest of the family. Talk to family members who are close to the person who is supposedly calling from jail. If it is your grandchild that is supposedly calling you, talk to his or her parents. You may find out that he or she is sitting in his or her room, safe and sound.
Scams like this feed of the panicked state of the victim. That is why they cause you to worry about a loved, and act quickly. They do not want you to think things through. They do not want you to ask questions, because they might not have the answers for them.