Scam targets family and friends of people in jail


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BOSTON (WWLP) – Scammers have set their sights on people who may have a friend or family member who is incarcerated.

For many families, a phone call is the closest contact they have with someone who is incarcerated. Thieves offer supplemental calling plans, promising “unlimited minutes,” to connect with the jailed person. Massachusetts does not offer unlimited calling plans in any jail, House of Correction, or prison.

Another scam is to offer magazine subscriptions that are either late or never delivered.

These scammers often use public records to find the names of jailed persons and social media to find friends and family. Law enforcement suggests following these guidelines to prevent becoming a victim of this and other scams:

  • Be cautious before posting about incarcerated loved ones on social media, as scammers may try scanning social media activity looking for targets;
  • Before signing up for a service, check the business’ website to make sure they offer reputable and legitimate services, and see if they have negative reviews;
  • Confirm that you can contact the business/organization via phone, email, live chat, or through their website;
  • Look out for all fees that will apply and check the business’ refund policy;
  • Avoid offers that come from social media and, in particular, from questionable businesses or organizations that operate solely on Facebook or other social media websites;
  • Avoid unsolicited offers from sources you don’t trust or know, including texts and phone calls unless you can confirm that the product or service is legitimate;
  • If you decide to make a purchase, pay with a credit card, PayPal or other method that offers purchase protections

Anyone who thinks they may have fallen prey to this or any other scam should file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Office.

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