ROXBURY, NJ – A Roxbury resident last week gave $10,500 in cash to a person who claimed to be a courier for a bail bond company but was actually part of a scam, police said today.

The incident, which took place April 24, was a prime example of something called the “Bail Bond Scam,” police said. The scam involves fraudsters, pretending to be bail bond providers, claiming cash is needed to release a person from incarceration.

An Elaborate Lie

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As shown by the police department’s description of the incident, the scammers can come up with some highly-detailed phony stories.

“A scammer contacted the victim over the phone and explained that her son was arrested for aggravated assault after he rear-ended an undercover police officer with his vehicle,” police said. “The scammer further explained the undercover police officer’s wife then contacted an attorney as a result of the accident.”

Police said the caller identified himself as an employee of a company called Chance Bail Bonds. They said he told the victim that the accident landed her son in jail, but he could be released if she came up with $10,500 for bail, police said.

“The caller further told the victim a courier would respond from ‘Chance Bail Bonds’ to her home and pick up the money,” police said, noting the scammers went so far as to promise adherence to the current social-distancing recommendations.

“The caller explained ‘Chance Bail Bonds’ recently began the courier service as a way to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” police said. The victim was asked her address and instructed to put the money in a white envelope.

About 40 minutes later, a man described by police as being in his 20s, about six feet tall, with dark hair and seemingly Hispanic, showed up at the woman’s house “equipped with a mask and gloves,” police said.

After taking the envelope, the man left in a black, 4-door car being driven by another person, police said.

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“The next day, the victim received a second phone call advising she would need to pay an additional $25,000 in order for her son to be released from jail,” police said. “The caller explained the officer’s wife sued for damages and won the $25,000 settlement.”

Although the woman told the scam artist she would get the money, family members became involved and contacted the police department, police said.

Noting another person in Roxbury was subsequently contacted with the same type of phony story, police are urging people to be wary of the scam and call them immediately - at (973) 448-2100 - if they get a similar call.

“Do not give any information over the phone and under no circumstances go to the bank to withdraw money,” they said. “It is extremely dangerous that scammers have become so bold and are now showing up at victim’s homes.”

In a prior interview, Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi said he is on a mission to prevent fraudsters from victimizing people in the town, especially older residents. The police department said people should not be quick to judge victims of these scams, noting that – in last week’s case – “the entire phone call seemed extremely legitimate … This could easily happen to someone you know.”

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