The Sheriff’s Department is warning the community about a scam targeting elderly residents.
The Sheriff's Elder Abuse Unit has learned of at least two recent scams, according to a news release.
First a man called the Sheriff’s Department claiming to be the relative of an elderly woman. He said he couldn’t reach his relative via phone, and wanted the deputies to go check on her. When deputies arrived at her house, she told them she didn’t know that man—but admitted that in the past, she’d fallen for his phone scam and wired him money. Deputies called that man back and learned that he had used the Sheriff’s Department to try and re-establish contact with her so he could continue the financial abuse.
The second scam involved an elderly man who got phone call informing him he’d won a large amount of money in a sweepstake, but had to pay a fee to collect it. The person who called identified himself as a deputy, and gave an actual deputy’s name. The man also said that the Sheriff’s Department would help with the money transfer. The elderly man withdrew the money as he was instructed, but before transferring it he stopped by the sheriff’s station first. The deputy whose identity was used just happened to be working that day and was able to tell him it was a scam.
Impersonating a law enforcement officer or deputy is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 or a year in local custody or both. Obtaining money through a scam or deception is a felony punishable by time in state prison.
The Sheriff’s Department does not ever facilitate or participate in any sweepstakes, lotteries, or money transfers.
If you have questions or want more information, you can call the Sheriff's Elder Abuse Unit (858) 974-2322.