New Scam from Troubled Relatives


Fairfax County Police Department
Franconia District Station

6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA 22310
703-922-0889. TTY 711. Fax 703-719-6436
Date Released 10/03/12
Contact: Brooke Wright / 703-922-0889
Information Bulletin: Relative in Jail Scam

New Scam from Troubled Relatives

Photo of hands on jail cell bars 

            Recently Franconia District officers have received reports that residents have been contacted by phone or email by someone posing as a distant relative in distress. The person who contacts them claims to be a nephew, uncle, grandchild or other relative who is jailed in a foreign country and needs bail money wired to them. Fortunately, none of our residents have fallen victim to this scam. However, several other states have reported this happening to their residents who have lost significant amounts of money.

            Even an officer here at the station stated he received an email from his father’s email account stating that he was arrested in Jamaica and needed bail money. “It was funny because I had just talked to him, in Kentucky, and he said his email had been hacked by someone who sent the same message to all of his contacts.” Remember, most jails do not allow inmates internet access.

            If you receive any calls from someone claiming to be in jail, first attempt to contact them by their normal phone numbers. Then, check with that jurisdiction’s law enforcement agency before sending any money. If it is someone claiming to be a relative that you did not know you had, perhaps they are an imposter.

            If you would like more information about common scams or need to report a financial crime, please go to the Financial Crimes Online Reporting System (FICOR) page at


To request this information in an alternate format, call the Franconia District Station at 703.922.0889.  TTY 711






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