The San Bernardino and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department both would like to warn citizens of a current telephone scam. Residents of both counties have reported receiving phone calls from law enforcement officers or utility company representatives requesting money. The callers are requesting money orders, credit card information, wire transfers or gift cards in order to pay a fine to prevent arrest due to a warrant for their failure to appear to jury duty.
According to law enforcement officials, the suspect usually remains on the phone if the caller chooses to obtain the gift card, many times the “Green Dot” card. The suspect instructs the victim not to tell anyone who they are talking with while they are purchasing the card. Once they obtain the serial numbers to the cards, the money deposited to the card is immediately removed by the suspect.
The Sheriff’s department would like to inform the public that they do not , under any circumstances, call or come to your home to request money for fines. People receiving these calls are encouraged to check the caller ID and verify the phone number calling you is coming from the agency directly. Do not use any number the caller provides to you. Call you local police department to ask to verify the information if you are unsure if it is legitimate or to report the incident.
Another telephone scam reported in the Riverside County area is by those saying they are calling from the utility companies collecting money for an overdue bill or saying the meter needs to be replaced at the victim’s expense. They go on to threaten that if the fee is not paid in full the victims service will be disconnected. The payment is required in the same manner as the scam involving the warrant scam.
The caller is not connected with any utility or. service provider. Victims are encouraged to advise the caller that they will be calling the utility company directly than discontinue the call with them. They should then contact the utility company through the phone number provided on billing sent by the utility company in question.
Citizens are encouraged to avoid providing any personal information over the phone including, but not limited to bank account numbers, personal identification numbers (P.I.N.), social security numbers and passwords. Also, the Sheriff’s department would also like citizens to be aware that there are several technologies that allow callers to mask the actual number that they are calling from or even giving the appearance that they are calling from the Sheriff’s Department, court or utility company.
If you have sent money or feel you have been a victim of a crime, please call your local San Bernardino County Sheriff Station to file a report.