A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
When a loved one calls on you for help, it's only natural to do everything in your power to help them. When that loved one is sitting behind bars in jail, the situation takes on a new and disturbing dimension. While you want to do what you can to arrange bail for your loved one, you should take care in doing so. Scammers prey on the vulnerability of loved ones and, if you aren't careful, you can be taken for an expensive ride. Read on and find about the latest ways scammers part you from your money using bail bonding.
Beware of These Scams
Most bail bonding companies are honest, legitimate companies who do a needed service for those arrested and want to get out of jail. Bail bonds allow you to have your loved one released from jail by paying a small percentage of the full bail amount. Unfortunately, scammers use the trustworthy reputation of bail bonding companies to steal from vulnerable and frightened consumers. Nearly every scam mentioned below is perpetrated by an alleged bail bonding company phoning you.
The Bonding Mistake
It's easy to see why people fall for this scam. The caller seems to know all about your loved one's recent release including names, dates, and the charges. The caller wants you to believe that a mistake has been made and the bond that allowed your loved one to be released was underpaid. The information the caller uses is easily available on the internet. Almost anyone can search through court records and public records to locate people who have recently been released from jail on a bond. The caller falsely claims that your loved one is about to be arrested due to the bond being insufficient – unless you immediately wire money to them. You can best protect yourself from this scam by refusing to send money. There is never a reason for a legitimate bonding agency to phone you with a request of this type. A variation of this scam is a warning that your loved one is about to have their bond revoked unless you pay more money right away.
The Surprise Phone Call
This scam involves receiving a phone call informing you that your loved one has been arrested and you need to pay the bond to have them released. The caller represents themselves as a bail bonding agent. That information alone should send a big, red flag to you because bail bonding agents seldom, if ever, phone relatives. If your loved one has asked the bondman to phone you, ask for the name of the bonding company and verify that it's a real company. You should also phone the jail facility to verify that your loved one is being held and the amount of the bail.
Doing Business Over the Phone
When a loved gets arrested in a distant location, you might still be able to help them. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should be the one to do the phoning. Phone several bonding agents to get information and to inquire about paying a bail bond over the phone. Not all agencies perform this service, and for good reason. A bond is a legal contract and contracts over the phone are invalid. If you verify that you are speaking to a legitimate bonding agency and they accept phone payment, be sure you are emailed a copy of the contract immediately and that a hard copy follows in the mail.
When a loved one is in jail, speak to a bail bondsman in person and avoid doing business over the phone.Share
14 January 2019