ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a list of tips Friday for residents dealing with scam calls.

She said her office frequently receives complaints from New Yorkers who have been called by scammers pretending to be from banks, trying to get personal information and money.

According to the AG’s office, scam callers can sometimes claim to be from a government agency, threatening arrest unless the victim complies. They also frequently claim to be the victim’s grandchild in need of money, or say the victim has won a sweepstakes and needs to pay taxes before receiving prize money. They can also claim to have the victim’s loved one as a hostage.

The attorney general’s tips to avoid falling victim are:

  • Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you. 
    • Think of the phone as a “one-way street” — only give out personal information if you made the call. If banks do contact you by phone, it will be to request verification of activity. Banks will never call and then ask you to provide personal information, account or transaction information, or codes received over the phone.
  • Don’t engage the caller.
    • Scammers can manipulate caller ID so that it appears to be an “official” call or a call from your city or town. If you do answer, just hang up if it seems like a scam. Consider using a call blocking app such as Nomorobo.
  • Contact your bank directly to resolve any concerns. 
    • If you have any doubts that the person on the phone is not legitimate or that your account may be in jeopardy, you should hang up and contact your bank directly using a trusted source, such as the number provided on the back of your debit card or electronic messaging systems made available by banks online or through mobile apps.
  • Government agencies usually reach out to you in writing.
    • A government agency will not call you and threaten your arrest or demand payment. 

If you suspect you have been a victim of a phone scam, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau here.