Police warn Boston area college students, families of phone extortion scam

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Boston Police Department is advising area college and university students and their families to be aware of an ongoing phone extortion scam.

Authorities say they’ve received many reports of unknown individuals calling the parents, grandparents, or relatives of local students and stating that the student has been arrested and needs bail money. The caller then instructs the relative to send money via FedEx to a particular Boston address, according to investigators.

Police say it is not uncommon for the caller to know basic details about the victim’s life, including names of family members, places of employment, and school information. They say that it is possible that the information is gathered through internet searches or websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In some cases, police say the caller phones several members of the same family, extracting information from one person that is then leveraged against a relative to increase the credibility of the caller’s claims.

Anyone receives a similar or unusual call should contact police immediately.

(Copyright (c) 2017 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)