Have you heard about the bail scam? If you don’t know what to watch out for, it can end up costing you (or your loved ones) thousands. Here’s what you need to know to protect you and your loved ones from being defrauded. 

How the bail scam works  

The bail scam works by targeting people by using information from their social media accounts. The scammers seek out information on social media about potential friends or relatives of the victim (such as names, locations or schools), and use it to convince their victim this friend or relative is in trouble and needs a bailout. 

Armed with convincing details, the scammers pretend to be police officers by supplying fake badge numbers and say that a friend or family member is being arrested and needs a cash bailout for a “gag order”. They say the payment will save the person from being charged. Finally, they send another scammer posing as a courier to come pick up the cash, stating all “charges” have been dropped.  

The scammers can be convincing and may work together by having someone pretend to be your friend or family member “in trouble” on the phone.  

How to protect yourself from the bail scam 

  1. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Take a moment to think about if the situation makes sense and what to do next. 
  2. Independently verify the call. Contact the person “in trouble” directly using a known telephone number – not one provided by the caller. Verify if there is anything going on.  
  3. Be careful what you share online. Scammers only have access to what you share online, so share details of your life cautiously. Try to keep track of information you or family and friends have shared publicly and consider reviewing your privacy settings on social media.  
  4. Share information about this scam. The more people that know about this scam, the fewer people will become victims. Share details about this scam with your friends and family members so they know what to look out for. If targeted by this or a related scam, share any information you can with your local police department.

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About Consumer Protection BC 

We are responsible for regulating specific sectors and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.