As part of the Santa Clarita Valley Station’s aggressive public outreach campaign that is being used to keep the public informed of crime and crime rates in our patrol areas, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station wants to make you aware of a number of scams that are becoming more prevalent in the Santa Clarita Valley. This is part one of a series of informational broadcasts intended to raise awareness in order to help you from becoming a victim of a scam. Besides the standard, “winning sweepstakes” type of scams, here are two other scams you should be aware of.
A trend the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has recognized is that residents are being tricked by jail inmates and others through a phone scam. This fraud has occurred off and on for many years in different parts of the country. This notice has been shared with the public by the LASD and the news media many times over the past few years. Each time it is shared, it results in a major decrease in victims and potential victims contacting the LASD. There has again been an increase in reports of this scam and we are asking you to forward this to your family, friends and colleagues to help them avoid it.
The scam begins by the victim receiving a call from a person claiming to be a deputy. This imposter tells the victim that one of their family member’s has been incarcerated or involved in an accident. The imposter then informs the victim that their family member provided their name as an emergency contact.
The victim is then instructed to call a number that begins with *72 (Example: *72-323-555-1212) to get the information they will need. When the victim hangs up and dials the number provided, they are told they have a wrong number.
Concerned for the safety of their family member, the victim usually then calls an information line (4-1-1) and asks for a number to the Sheriff’s Department. They are then connected with a real deputy.
However, since the victim used the prefix *72 to initiate their last phone call, they have just automatically forwarded all their incoming calls to the scammer’s phone number (These include collect calls from inmates who want to avoid paying for collect calls). The billing for these forwarded calls goes to the victim until they turn off call forwarding on their phone (usually by dialing *73).
If you receive this kind of call claiming that a relative is in jail somewhere, members from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Crime Prevention Unit can verify if the person is really in custody, or you can visit www.lasd.org and click on Inmate Information for further information. For more regarding this scam, click here.
Another scam that we have recognized in the Santa Clarita Valley is the Latin Lottery Scam.
Some things to remember is that no one needs any help cashing a lottery ticket. If someone is asking you to get money for them to hold, they are intending to steal it. If you are approached by someone who claims to have won the lottery, but needs your money in order to claim their prize, contact the Santa Clarita Valley Station immediately. To read more about this type of scam click here http://nixle.com/alert/4857643/
We encourage residents to report criminal or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods immediately. If you feel you have fallen victim to one of these scams, please call Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.