News & Events

Date and Time of Release: 14 February 2014

Date and Time of Incident: Past two weeks

Subject: 2014 “Year of the scammer”

2014 is quickly turning into the year of the scammer. Two new scams have recently hit the Mother Lode area, along with several older ones reappearing. Everyone needs to be very vigilant of whom they are speaking to or dealing with, both on the phone and on the internet.

One of the recent scams to make its way into our area started with an advertisement placed in the Union Democrat classified section. So far, the Police Department has taken two reports from this scam. The ad was looking for a personal assistant and was willing to pay $310 a week.

When the victims answered the ad via email, they were sent a money order in the amount of $1,730 via Fed Ex, with instructions. The money order appeared to be from the Texas State Bank. The instructions told the victims to deposit the money orders into their accounts, deduct 10% for themselves, then wire the remaining amount via Western Union to an address in China. The email address in China is anonymous and untraceable. Once the money order is deposited, the scammer has your account number and will quickly empty it.

The other scam is a phone scam which has hit our area. In this scam, a female caller claims to be from H&R Block’s corporate office. The caller claims if you supply her with your full name, date of birth and social security number, she can access your tax return from last year, even if you didn’t file it with H&R Block. She also claims she can access all your reported earnings to the IRS and State for 2013.

The caller states she will file your taxes for you electronically for only $50. And if you are not eligible for a return, the company will give you $50. If you agree to this, the caller asks for your bank account number and your routing number, so they can have your refund electronically deposited, or deposit your $50 if you are not eligible for a refund.

Like in the other scam, once they have your account number they empty your account. The phone number in this scam goes to a phone junction in Florida, then it’s transferred to Canada.

Last week we had someone report they were the victim of the “relative needing bail money” scam. This scam has been around several years now and people are still falling victim to it. If someone calls you from Canada or Mexico and claims you have a relative in jail and you need to send money to bail them out, DO NOT DO IT! There are several ways to confirm if this is true or not, but just don’t believe the person on the phone and send them money. In this scam they normally request a money order between $3,000 & $5,000 to be sent via Western Union.

Remember, check things out and verify them before sending money to anyone or just cashing a check you received for no reason. If you have any question regarding any correspondence you may receive via the phone or internet, contact your local law enforcement agency. REFUSE TO BECOME A VICTIM.