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Utah man sends $45K to get son out of jail only to find out he was never arrested

A West Jordan man recently fell victim to a scheme in which someone claiming to be his son called and said he was in jail and that money needed to be sent immediately. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News
WEST JORDAN, Utah ( — Earlier this year, a West Jordan man received a phone call allegedly from his son who said he was in jail.
Ultimately, the man ended up paying $45,000 in cryptocurrency to try to help his son get out of jail, only to find out his son was never arrested and that he had been scammed.
Now, West Jordan police are issuing a safety reminder to other residents as they try to find the person or people responsible for taking the man’s money.
On Feb. 7, a West Jordan man received a phone call. When he answered, he “heard someone who sounded like his son on the line stating that he was in jail in Kaysville,” according to West Jordan police.
The “son” gave the man the name and number of a lawyer who had allegedly been appointed to his case. The father called the number, and a man claiming to be a lawyer “told him his son was arrested for reckless driving and DUI. (The attorney) told him that his son hit a pregnant woman who might lose her baby,” according to court documents.
The alleged lawyer told the father to withdraw $10,000 from his bank and deposit it in a Coinstar machine as a retainer fee.
“After he deposited the money, he received another call telling him that the woman’s child died and his son was to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. (The lawyer) told him that the retainer and fee for his son would be another $20,000,” a search warrant affidavit states.
The father ended up depositing the money in several Coinstar machines.
The father then received another call claiming the family of the woman intended to sue but would settle now for $50,000. When the father said he didn’t have that much money, the alleged lawyer asked him how much he had. When the father said he only had $15,000 left, the lawyer said the family had agreed to settle for that. The father then deposited the money in another Coinstar machine.
“After he deposited the last amount, he tried to call (the lawyer) back and the number was no longer valid. (The father) said he realized he was defrauded. (He) said he called his son and found out that he was never in jail,” court documents state.
West Jordan police do not know what led the man to believe it was his son’s voice on the phone, or if he was the victim of the growing trend of deep fake AI scams. Police also don’t know if the father was called at random or if he was targeted, or how the caller apparently knew he had a son.
As of Friday, no arrests had been made and the case remains active.
But police say using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency to pay businesses or people claiming to represent a business such as a law firm, should automatically be a red flag. No legitimate person will ask a client to go to an ATM to withdraw money for a Bitcoin machine, police say.
Police advise that if there is a question about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and call that person back. Or if it’s someone claiming to be in jail, call that jail to verify someone is incarcerated, check the jail’s inmate roster online, or call the alleged arresting law enforcement agency.
The post Utah man sends $45K to get son out of jail only to find out he was never arrested appeared first on East Idaho News.

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