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State police warn of phone scams targeting elderly

State Police say they have seen a recent increase in phone scams targeting elderly individuals.

The scenarios typically involve a scammer claiming a family member is under arrest and asking for the purchase of gift cards, police said.

Sometimes the scammers claim that a family member is in trouble or has been arrested in another state or another country. The scammers often urge individuals not to contact other family members about the situation and make the situation seem urgent.

Sometimes the scammers claim to be a member of law enforcement and demand bail funds for a family member. Police agencies do not call family members for bail money.

The scammers ask the victim to get a specific amount of money and spend it buying gift cards from large retail stores, like Walmart, Target, Home Depot or Lowe's. Then the victim is asked to call a number and provide the scammer with the gift card ID number.

The scammers then buy items with the gift cards and resell the items at a lower cost in order to profit. Authorities ask anyone who have elderly members of their family to explain this type of scam to them.

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