ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Getting a notification from a phone number or email you don’t recognize? The New York State Police (NYSP) is warning the public of a recent increase of scams.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation says in the first few weeks of 2023, they are already seeing an increase in high-volume scams through a variety of methods.

The NYSP says to be aware of the following scenarios:

  • The caller claiming to be a family member and has an illness or was arrested. This caller will put urgency on helping them and not to contact other family.
  • The caller claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest demanding bail or funds for them.
  • The caller claims to be law enforcement claiming that your Social Security Number or Bank Accounts have been “compromised”.  The caller will ask important information to “verify” the identity of the person they are calling, getting the victims information including social security numbers and bank account numbers.
  • Emails or texts with an “URGENT” message stating that your Social Security number, bank account, cable provider, Apple account, Amazon account, Netflix account has been “compromised” and needs immediate attention.

Police agencies will not ask for the following information through these ways:

  • Do not contact family for bail money
  • Do not ask for money to fix social security numbers or bank accounts
  • Do not send text messages asking for account information as part of an investigation

The callers, according to NYSP, will advise victims of scam communication to receive a specific amount of money in the following ways:

  • Purchasing gift cards from popular stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and other big retail stores and then reading over the phone to the caller or sending the bar code on the back of the gift card to the caller. These gift card increments could be anywhere from $50-$500.
  • Sending cash by mail in a box packaged a certain way the caller will explain, usually wrapped in tinfoil or heavily taped package.
  • Purchasing Bitcoin or Crypto Currency with a QR code provided by the caller.

The NYSP says if you receive a call that is believed to be a scam, to do the following:

  • resist the urge to act immediately.
  • verify the caller’s identity- Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t answer. Check with a family member to see if the information is true.
  • do not send cash, gift cards, or money transfers.
  • do not give your personal banking account information by email or over the phone or log into bank accounts as directed by the caller, such as screen mirroring.
  • If you have parents or elderly people in your family, take the time to explain these scams to them.