Addressing Scams in Cook County Bond Court
Over the past few months, several families have been scammed out of thousands of dollars in desperate attempts to free their loved ones incarcerated in Cook County Jail. In some cases, people who log on to Cook County court hearings virtually are sent direct messages in the chat from those running scams who pose as attorneys or others with power to bond out a loved one. They will use real attorney’s names and photos to seem legitimate. Please know that these are scams; this is NOT the actual process for paying bond.
CCBF wants to remind people that bonds in Cook County are paid by bank, cash, or cashier’s checks. Please do not give funds to anyone through PayPal, CashApp, Zelle, or other apps. Bonds are paid at Division Five, 2700 S. California Ave. You can pay bonds at additional locations listed on the Cook County Sheriff’s website.
CCBF operates the only revolving bail fund in Cook County at this time. We typically do not request or accept supplemental contributions, and CCBF staff and volunteers would never ask for monetary funds in exchange for bonding out your loved ones. That is the same for other charitable bail funds or community organizations.
Sometimes there are community efforts to bond out individuals without conducting intake processes or contacting loved ones beforehand. However, these efforts are usually in partnership with established organizations, such as CCBF. These efforts often come with press releases and/or media articles verifying legitimacy as well.
If needed, you can email info[@]chicagobond.org if you need to verify whether assistance offered is real.
CCBF is disheartened to hear that these incidents have occurred. This issue highlights the detrimental effects of pretrial incarceration on communities and the level of vulnerability of people fighting for their freedom. The Pretrial Fairness Act goes into full effect in January 2023, eliminating money bond throughout Illinois. CCBF encourages everyone to follow the campaign to end money bond for updates and resources.