NEW YORK (WROC) — New York State Police issued a warning Wednesday amid a rapid increase in fraud cases directed at elderly residents.

Officials say up until March a total of $500,000 has been exchanged by victims who have fallen for the scams. It is estimated that more than $1,000,000 was lost in state police fraud cases in 2021.

Members of state police say the scams vary in nature but always involve a caller. Some scenarios involve the following:

  • The caller claiming to be a family member and has an illness or was arrested.
  • The caller claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest demanding bail or funds for them.
  • The caller claims to be law enforcement claiming that your Social Security Number or Bank Accounts have been compromised.

According to state police, the majority of callers will advise the victim to get a specific amount of money.

New York State Police recommends following this series of steps when facing a possible scam:

  • RESIST the urge to act immediately — no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • VERIFY the caller’s identity — Ask questions that a stanger couldn’t answer.
  • DO NOT send cash, gift cards — Once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!
  • DO NOT give your personal banking account information by email or over the phone.

Most times the suspects are out of the country and due to the complexity of these cases, victims will not get the money they sent, according to officials.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues to work on these crimes. In the latest update, state police say they handled 442 fraud cases in 2021 and 113 so far (March) in 2022.