The Cortland City Police Department released a public service announcement regarding recent phone scams:
We are still dealing with individuals who are falling victim to a wide variety of telephone scams. The latest scam involved a woman being duped into purchasing $800.00 worth of eBay gift cards in order to confirm a seat on a flight that she had legitimately booked on an earlier date. There are scams involving individuals claiming to be dealing with issues with your Social Security. There are others stating that you have won money or have unclaimed funds that just require some action on your part to collect. Some even claim to be a grandson or other loved one or have knowledge of a loved one that is in financial trouble or has been jailed and require you to take financial steps to see that they are taken care of. The individuals responsible for these scams work hard to convince their victims of the authenticity of their requests. They may have personal information regarding you and/or family members that you don't believe they could have obtained on their own and that are designed to lend credibility to their stories. Almost EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU can be obtained from the internet. Whether it is simple and free to the general public or buried in the dark web and available for purchase; personal information about you, your immediate family and even distant relatives is available to those who stand to profit from having it.
No legitimate company, lottery or government entity will ever contact you by telephone and solicit payment by use of any kind of gift card, prepay credit card, cash or any other form of untracked currency. Period. If you receive a call, regardless of the caller's story, and the caller wants you to obtain any of the aforesaid items, send cash or cash a check that they send to you and send a portion of the money back to them, it's a scam. Do not provide bank account information, credit or debit card numbers to individuals who initiate calls to you. If you can't absolutely confirm the identity of the person with whom you are speaking, do not provide any personal information.
Numerous area residents have been tricked out of hundreds of dollars and several have lost thousands of dollars to these professional telephone bandits.
If you have any question as to the legitimacy of a call, ask the caller for a telephone number at which you may call them back, then call the police and explain the circumstances. We can offer advice on whether or not the call is an attempt to steal from you. If the caller will not readily provide you with a telephone number to re-contact them, it's a scam.