It can be extremely stressful when you find out a family member or close friend is in jail. Along with stress, you may feel embarrassed, worried, and anxious. It’s normal to be concerned about how you’ll afford bail but being anxious and emotional is what will make you the perfect target for a bail bond scam.
Know How to Spot a Bail Bond Trap
Getting bailed out of jail is a great opportunity because you’ll be able to continue working, spend time with family and sleep in your own bed while waiting for your trial. More importantly, you’ll be free to easily work on your defense strategy for your upcoming hearing. It’s important that you know how to spot a scam. Some of the tactics are fraud which is illegal.
Bail Bond Discounts
Paying full bail on your own may seem costly but choosing to use a bail bonds person is a less expensive option. You’ll only be responsible to pay about 10% of the bail amount set by the judge. True bail bond companies do not offer deals or discounts for their services. Cheaper may sound appealing especially when you are tight on cash but most likely, you are setting yourself to get scammed.
Your phone rings and the person on the other line tells you that a close family member has been arrested. The caller catches you off guard and tells you that they are a bail bond agent. Hang up immediately, it’s most likely an attempt to get money from you. Try calling your loved ones to see where they are. If you cannot reach him or her and no one knows their whereabouts, call local police stations to verify that they have actually been locked up. A real bondsman will never make a cold call and when they do call, it’s on behalf of the person who has been arrested.
No Paperwork to Complete
When bailing someone out of jail, there is always paperwork to do either for the courts or the bail bond agency. A bail bond is just like any other legal transaction that requires filling out paperwork, showing ID, and proof of employment. If the collateral is necessary, the paperwork will include specific information pertaining to that as well. If you are told over the phone that if you pay by credit card, there will be no paperwork to get the bail processed. This cannot be handled solely over the phone, a bond agent will require a face-to-face transaction at some point in the process.
Soliciting Bail Bonds
Solicitation is illegal. Bondsmen are not just hanging out in the jail to conveniently offer their services to upset parents or panicked spouses. The bond company must be contacted directly by you on the behalf of the defendant or the person being detained. If someone approaches you about their bail bond services, this should be a red flag. Don’t use anyone who hunts you down to get your business.
Only Use Licensed Bail Agents
All bond people must be licensed in order to offer bonding services. Agents must always have their license with them. If you are uncertain about the bonds person you are speaking with, ask to see their license. If they refuse or become defensive, this person is a fraud.
Research Reputable Bail Bondsman to Avoid Fraud
Arrests often come as a surprise to the family. Unexpected situations tend to make it difficult to think rationally, making you much more vulnerable to fraudulent tactics. If an offer for cheap bail bonds, discounts, or no contracts seems fishy, skip the offer. Do your own research to locate a reputable bond agency such as Frank Chavez Bail Bonds in Palm Beach County. If you can’t post bail for yourself or someone else, his bond services are available 24/7.