Tyler police have received reports of residents, believing they were helping a family member in trouble, scammed out of large sums of money.
Spokesman Don Martin said scammers randomly call a resident and start a conversation in which they extract a family member's name they might not have seen in a while, like a grandson.
The scammer then convinces them that the relative is in trouble and needs money to get out of jail and come home.
Martin said the scammers frequently convince the victim to use Western Union or to purchase a money card and have the money wired to an untraceable location.
Tyler police suggest asking the caller for information that confirms who is on the other side of the line.
Ask the caller several questions that only the real relative would know. Obtain a call-back number and tell the caller you will call back after verifying their information.
Call other family members to verify if you should proceed with any type of assistance.