Bail bonds services are an absolute necessity in the New Jersey criminal justice system, and the vast majority of bondsmen are reputable, honest operators. But one fact of the matter is that people who need bail bondsmen are often at their most desperate. For this reason there are a number of people who make their living taking advantage of the system.
Bail bonds scams are rare, but not unheard of. If you’re in a position where you think you might be the target of a scammer or illegitimate bail bonds company, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you avoid predatory bail bonds scams and get the real help you need.
Tips for Avoiding Bail Bonds Scams
If a bail bonds company contacts you, something probably isn’t right.
Legitimate bail bondsmen usually don’t solicit business. If you get a call from someone who claims that a friend or loved one is in jail, and needs you to send them bond to secure their release, be suspicious. Ask what jail your loved one is supposedly in, then contact them directly to confirm (there’s a full list of New Jersey jails here). Odds are in a situation like this, the caller is a scammer.
If a bail bonds company offers prices too good to be true, they might be.
In the state of New Jersey, bail bondsmen have to charge a 10% of posted bail. If a company offers their services for 7%, 5%, or lower, they’re likely not on the level. Often these companies mean that they’re only charging the lower percentage as a cash down payment, expecting the customer to make up the difference with an unfairly financed payment agreement or something similar. It’s not always legal, but it does happen.
Always ask about the bond company’s licensing and experience.
Bail bondsmen are required by law to be fully licensed and insured. If a company evades questions about these requirements, claims they aren’t necessary, or sounds unconvincing when they claim to have them, be suspicious. They should be able to present you with their credentials with no problem.
Don’t spend a dime until the paperwork’s complete.
Everything should be filled out and signed in black and white before any money is exchanged. If someone wants you to pay now and deal with the paperwork later, they could be looking to take the money and run.
A good bail bonds company should be patient and helpful.
If the bondsman you’re working with is evasive when asked questions about themselves or the bond process, wants to hurry through the job, or anything like that, be on guard. Good bondsmen aren’t just there to take your money and move on to the next case – they’re there to help you and your loved on navigate through the process as painlessly as possible. You’re the customer, and you should be treated with all the respect that entails. If something feels off, assume that it is (good advice for avoiding any scam).
If you want to skip the guesswork and find an honest, reputable bail bonds company in New Jersey, call Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101.