**Message from the Bear Valley Police Department**
Twice in the past week, residents of Bear Valley Springs have reported that they were victims of telephone scams. Fortunately, both of our recent victims were savvy enough to recognize the likelihood that they were being scammed and hung up the phone.
In the first case, the fraudster claimed to work for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and was attempting to collect fines for an arrest warrant. In the second case, the fraudster claimed to work for PG&E and was collecting a late payment. Both calls were proven to be from scammers.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips when you feel you’ve been contacted by a fraudster over the phone.
Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.
Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some claim to be a charity organization asking for donations.
Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.
They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or that you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer. Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.
Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.
Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.
They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.
If you know someone who is vulnerable to this type of scam, please share this information with them.