Suffolk County police are warning residents of a telephone scam that urges the wiring of money to a family member supposedly in trouble.
Police on Thursday issued a news release that said more than a dozen such scams had been reported over the past 48 hours.
Over the past five months, the release said, Suffolk police have received about 70 reports of similar scams and believe dozens of attempted scams have gone unreported.
A police investigation has revealed that victims are randomly selected and the caller usually is able to convince the target that the scenario is real, the release said.
The scam involves a victim getting a telephone call from someone claiming that they know a family member who is somehow in trouble and needs money wired immediately, police said. The caller attempts to pressure the victim into sending money without verifying the family member's whereabouts.
In one scenario, police said, the caller claims that they have just been in a motor-vehicle crash with the victim's relative who refuses to pay for the damage.
The caller claims to be holding the relative at gunpoint and the relative will not be released until the victim wires several thousand dollars.
Police said other scams may include stories that a family member needs bail money or owes someone money. The victim is instructed to withdraw money from an ATM, and the caller then will guide them to an institution where they can wire money.
Police said residents should independently verify the threatened relative's whereabouts and to resist giving out personal information in any phone call.
Those getting calls of this nature should immediately contact police by calling 631-852-2677.