Scammers targeting the elderly in Erie County

Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 18:33:45-05

Don't fall victim to the "Grandchild in Need" scam.  That's the message coming from Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, and Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

The two issued the joint warning during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Here's how it works, scammers call a family member and pretend to be their grandchild or tell them a family member is under arrest, and that to get them out of jai they need to send money right away. 

Both Sheriff Howard and Comptroller Mychajliw stress this is not how inmate processing works.

Here are some basic tips on Erie County's inmate procedure.

1. The Sheriff’s Office will NOT call someone to get money to prohibit someone from going into custody.

2. The Sheriff’s Office maintains an active offender list on its website of everyone who is in Sheriff’s custody. That list can be found at www.erie.gov/sheriff under “Inmate Information” to see if someone you know is listed.

3. Erie County also has an app with inmate information. It can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices. Search “Erie County NY Sheriff” in the app store.

4. When in doubt, call the police.

If you, or someone you know has received one of these calls, you're asked to file a complaint with The Federal Trade Commission.

Anyone with questions can also contact the Comptroller's Office at 716-858-8404.