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Scammers targeting Oklahomans claim to be loved ones trapped in jail, demand money

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Ashley Zimmerman says she and her mom received multiple calls from someone claiming to be in the Oklahoma County Jail.

Video Transcript

ASHLEY ZIMMERMAN: She received two phone calls from Oklahoma County Jail.

TAYLOR ADAMS: Ashley Zimmerman's mom fielding alarming calls from jail.

ASHLEY ZIMMERMAN: Who is this calling my mom at 9:30 at night?

TAYLOR ADAMS: The person on the other end of the phone claiming to be her daughter.

ASHLEY ZIMMERMAN: It obviously was not me. My mom was frantic, and she was almost in tears. And she asked me if I was OK.

TAYLOR ADAMS: And just days later, another call-- but this time, coming to Ashley's phone.

ASHLEY ZIMMERMAN: And it was a man saying, "Hey, it's me. Pick up the phone." So I was a little freaked out, because I'm like, why are they calling this number?

TAYLOR ADAMS: News 4 hearing from multiple viewers in the last few weeks, all telling the same story-- so-called loved ones calling from the jail asking for thousands of dollars for bail.

MSGT. GARY KNIGHT: Sadly, these types of scams are nothing new to the police department. These have been going on for many, many years.

TAYLOR ADAMS: One older man, who didn't want to go on camera, was asked for $25,000-- and he sent it.

MSGT. GARY KNIGHT: Once they fall victim to it, their money is gone. In virtually all of these cases, the perpetrators of these crimes are out of the country. So it makes it very difficult, number one, for us to trace where the person is, but number two, to find them and get them back here.

TAYLOR ADAMS: Thankfully, Ashley and her mom didn't send any money. But they worry others might.

ASHLEY ZIMMERMAN: And I really, like, worry about people like my grandma who are in their 80s that may be getting phone calls from Oklahoma County Jail.

TAYLOR ADAMS: The best advice from police? Be vigilant, and never send anyone any money without doing your own research.

MSGT. GARY KNIGHT: Pick up the phone. Call the police. Let us have a look at it. We're happy to at least give you our opinion on it, on whether or not it's a legitimate deal.

TAYLOR ADAMS: Taylor Adams, Oklahoma's News 4.