Scams

a couple is shopping online, they are sitting on a couch both using a computer. the camera is looking at the computer and keyboard, the wife is holding the credit card and the husband is navigating on the keyboard.
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips 900 900 SIB Staff

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

This Thanksgiving weekend is the start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide an opportunity for consumers to find a great deal. In order to help the public have a crime-free shopping season, LASD periodically informs & continues to warn the public through social media about holiday safety

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

  • Neighbors watch out for neighbors! If you will be staying home or traveling, help keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to your local law enforcement. This makes communities safer.
  • Let someone you trust know when you’re traveling. Have them watch your house and retrieve any newspapers and collect your mail. If you are going to be gone long, contact your United States Postal Service and put your mail on hold.
  • When out shopping, stay vigilant! Park in a well-lit area.
  • Avoid shopping alone! Consider shopping with friends or relatives so everyone looks out for each other.
  • If you are shopping with children, coach them on what to do if they become separated. Make sure they know their first and last name, have contact phone numbers memorized and teach them about 911.
  • Do not leave packages in plain view in your vehicle. Lock your vehicle and place all your merchandise in the trunk.
  • If you place packages in your vehicle and plan to go back inside for more shopping, please consider driving away from your current parking spot and park somewhere new, so no one knows what valuable items you just left unattended.
  • Remember where you parked and be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car. Prior to getting into your vehicle take a look inside and around before entering.
  • Be cautious of strangers approaching you for any reason. Many thieves will use different methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money or merchandise. Consider Instead, volunteering or donating to a charity.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse. When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep your home safe! Set lights on timers, giving the impression the house is not alone. Make sure to close all blinds and lock all entry points such as windows, sliders, and all your doors.
  • Celebrate responsibly by planning ahead. Even if you’ve had only one drink, play it safe and designate a sober driver or use a ride-share service to get home. If you plan on drinking, don’t plan on driving.
  • Don’t use a debit card. Many people like using a debit card due to convenience or as a budgeting tool, but debit cards lack the same consumer protections that credit cards do. Should your account be compromised, you can be responsible for a greater share of the loss than if you had used a credit card
  • Be wary of online deals that are too good to be true. Do your research on whoever you are buying from.
  • If an online seller asks you to wire payment, be suspicious. Many times fraudsters will advertise a great deal on a high dollar item, but will only accept a money wire transfer. Once the money is wired to an account, it is very difficult to recover it if later on it turns out you were the victim of fraud.
  • Only do business with vendors who use secure websites.
  • Keep an eye on your credit cards at all times. A common tactic of fraudsters employed by a legitimate company is to take the card you present as payment, swipe it through the legitimate payment system, and then swipe it again through their own collection device. Your credit card information can then be used by the crook for their own purpose or sold to other crooks.
  • Guard your identity the same as you would your pocketbook. Criminals not only want your money, they want your identity. With it, they can use it to get credit and make purchases while sticking you with the bill. Your information is valuable and can be sold to other criminals as well.
  • Be suspicious of people claiming to be from your credit card company who need to “verify” information. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from your credit card company asking you to verify Personally Identifiable Information be careful.
  • The caller could be a scammer who is gathering information that will later on help him steal your identity. If you feel there is some legitimacy to the callers questions, terminate the call and call back the company using a phone number you know is legitimate. You can find these numbers on your credit card statement or the company’s website.
  • Monitor bank statements for suspicious activity. With increased activity during the shopping season, it is easy for a bad guy to slip in a few unauthorized transactions without you knowing it. Monitor bank and credit cards regularly for suspicious transactions and question anything that does not look legitimate regardless of the amount. Most financial companies offer online access to your account and you can monitor transactions in real time.
  • Limit use of free Wi-Fi. Don’t use free wireless networks, such as those in coffee shops, when you shop online. Fraudulent Wi-Fi hotspots are too easy to set up and are often disguised to look like legitimate services offered by reputable companies. Bad guys use these fraudulent sights to capture your data or install malware on your device. Waiting until you have a secure connection at home or using data from your own personal cellular plan is a good way to eliminate this type of operation.
  • Stay informed by following the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters social media pages and your designated patrol station to help keep you up-to-date on crime trends and safety tips.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wishes everyone a safe, productive crime free shopping season.

Image of fake pharmaceuticals confiscated by LASD.
Intellectual Property 900 503 SIB Staff

Intellectual Property

National Day of World Intellectual Property

Today we mark National Day of World Intellectual Property. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.”

Counterfeiting is the largest global criminal enterprise affecting economic growth and impacting the health and safety of consumers. This illicit trade is a significant problem worldwide that continues to grow. Whether it is smuggling, counterfeit, or tax evasion, governments are losing billions of dollars in tax revenues, legitimate businesses are being undermined, and consumers are being exposed to poorly made and unregulated products.

Image of 40 or 50 fake motorcycle helmets displayed in an office. The Helmets are on a wall rack along the wall.

It is a crime to steal, with the intention to, Sell and/or Manufacture of someone’s registered trademark and/or logo, whether it’s a song, artwork, or tangible property. 

Within the County of Los Angeles, the Sheriff’s Department enforces trademarks to protect against Intellectual Property theft and ensure the health and safety of consumers. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement (CAPE) Team is an active investigative unit consisting of Sheriff Deputies, a Sergeant, and a Lieutenant responsible for enforcing counterfeit-related crimes and investigation of various “quality of life” issues, including counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and safety products. 

If you know of someone who is selling counterfeit products, you can call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Community Partnerships Bureau, Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement Team at 323-981-5300 to provide information on the Sale and/or Manufacture of counterfeit goods. Or if you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Fake warrant calls from unknown persons 900 900 SIB Staff

Fake warrant calls from unknown persons

Fake warrant calls from unknown persons

“Hello, there is a warrant issued for your arrest!”

On Friday, July 17th, 2020, one of our deputies from the San Dimas Sheriff’s station was called out to take a “Fraud by False Pretenses” report. See, the victim received a phone call from an unknown person and number indicating he was a “Drug Investigator.” This so called Drug Investigator told the victim she had “warrants for her arrest” and there was fraudulent activity with her social security number which she needed to rectify immediately. Thankfully the victim did not believe him, but the unknown caller then asked her if she would feel more comfortable speaking with someone from the San Dimas Sheriff’s station.

To her dismay, a second person called her and identified himself as the someone from San Dimas Sheriff’s station. This second person told her to do everything the “Drug Investigator” asked of her. The “Drug Investigator” then called her back and requested gift cards from her. Sadly, this victim fell into their trap and bought gift cards totaling over $4,000 to “pay” for the clearing of the warrants and the fraudulent activity associated with her social security number.

After discussing this with others, the victim realized she had fallen for this scam and was out $4,000.00.

Please know the following: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reminds you that we will never call you about any of the following:

*Monetary requests such as gift cards of any type to pay for “warrants”
*Delivery of such monies via telephone
*COVID relief payments/checks — very common now a days

“Threatening Impersonator Phone calls” are not new but they seem to be more common now especially with COVID related charities.

If you are unsure of who you are speaking with, please ask the caller for their information, hang up and call the specific agency in question. DO NOT GIVE ANY OF YOUR INFORMATION over the phone.

Do your homework and be aware of all the possible scams and those who prey on innocent people!

For more information related to tax scams please visit:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-unveils-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2020-americans-urged-to-be-vigilant-to-these-threats-during-the-pandemic-and-its-aftermath

THREAT-BASED IMPERSONATION SCAM 468 613 SIB Staff

THREAT-BASED IMPERSONATION SCAM

THREAT-BASED IMPERSONATION SCAM

If you receive a demand for payment by telephone, email, or other means of communication, to be made in any form for any reason, from someone portraying themself as a deputy sheriff or other Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employee, do not comply.  Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel will never ask for payment over the phone or by email.
  
Here are some tips to identify a potential threat-based impersonation scam and how to prevent yourself from falling prey to this scam or similar scams:
 
TACTICS:

  • Scammers conduct social media and Internet reconnaissance on their potential victims.
  • Scammers call and deceive their victims into thinking the callers are law enforcement officers or from a government agency.
  • Scammers may spoof a law enforcement phone number, falsely showing on the victim’s caller ID.
  • They threaten victims with arrest for outstanding warrants or other legal issues.
  • They instruct the victims to “resolve” the matter by “posting bail” with gift cards or Bitcoin.
  • Once a victim makes the purchase, the scammer instructs them to read the gift card numbers or bitcoin key over the phone.
  • Once the scammer is satisfied they received the necessary information, the line is disconnected.

 
PREVENTION METHODS:

  • If you are unsure if a call or email is real, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search.  Do not use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent.
  • Do not feel pressured by a threatening caller.  Hang up and verify their story.
  • Never send money, or give bank account, credit card, or personal information to anyone you do not know or trust.
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel or any government agency will never ask for any type of payment over the telephone.  Financial transactions with our agency are handled at patrol stations, courthouses, and custody facilities.

If you believe you were a victim of this type of crime, contact your local law enforcement agency and report the incident. You can find the contact information for your local law enforcement agency at www.lasd.org/stations.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google Play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org


Sheriff Updates to COVID-19 Scams, and Board Motion to Remove Him as Emergency Ops Director 680 510 SIB Staff

Sheriff Updates to COVID-19 Scams, and Board Motion to Remove Him as Emergency Ops Director

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Provides Information and Updates Related to the Emergency Operations Center, COVID-19 Scams, and L.A. County Board Motion to Remove Him as Emergency Operations Director

Press Conference

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Provides Information and Updates Related to the Emergency Operations Center, COVID-19 Scams, and L.A. County Board Motion to Remove Him as Emergency Operations Director

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, March 26, 2020
credit card over laptop
#FraudFriday-Credit Bureau scam 900 900 SIB Staff

#FraudFriday-Credit Bureau scam

#FraudFriday-Credit Bureau Scam

We’ve all seen well known Credit Bureau Companies are being affected by data breaches. Wouldn’t you know it? People may have already started putting up fake websites meant to look like the official Equifax settlement claims website.
With these types of breaches, fake websites are popping up, making themselves look like legitimate credit bureau companies offering reimbursement for being a victim of a data breach. But beware these offers are fake, and you will be at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or scammed straight out of your money.

How this scam works:

• Advertisements are posted throughout social media instructing people to file a claim to get money for possibly being a victim of a data breach
• Once a person is convinced, they are directed to click onto a link that will instruct them to enter personal information
• Once the personal information is entered, the scammers will have your information which can be used to open fraudulent bank accounts or credit cards.
• Once the claim has been submitted, the victim might get a response indicating they have not been a victim of a data breach.
There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

If you receive an email, advertisement, or phone call advising you may be a victim of a data breach, do not provide personal information until you verify the notification is legitimate.
You may be sure you’re going to the right site by going directly to the actual credit bureau websites or calling the credit bureau directly.

A couple more things to remember. You’ll never have to pay to file a claim for these benefits. And anyone who calls and tries to get you to file a claim is almost certainly a scammer.

#LASD

Credit card sitting on a Keyboard
Protect your information 400 400 SIB Staff

Protect your information

Protect your information

#FraudFriday- EBT Scam Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has issued a warning about the latest scam targeting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders using U.S. mail to attain client personal information fraudulently. There are two ways this scam works: The first method: The first one EBT card holders are receiving a letter in the mail, to call a phone number to renew their social service benefits.

Once the victim calls, they are asked to provide personal information to what they think is an official representative, when in fact it is a scammer. These scammers ask the victim to provide personal information which in turn will be used to open fake accounts. The second method: Cardholders are receiving text messages and/or phone calls instructing the victim to call back. Upon call back, an automated recording asks them to provide personal information including their EBT 16-digit card number and PIN. When that information is given, the scammers create a duplicate card and withdraw funds from the victim’s accounts.

Some of the fraudulent phone numbers currently being used are: (559) 461-9778 and (858) 232-3581. Helpful tips to prevent being a victim of this scam: • Cardholders should not provide any information. • Cardholders who have already provided card numbers and PINs to a third party should call the phone number on the back of their EBT card and change their PINs or report their EBT cards as lost or stolen. EBT cardholders should never provide personal information to unknown third parties. If anyone receives such a letter or suspects that they’ve been a victim of this scam, they should immediately call the phone number on the back of their EBT card, change their PIN and report their EBT card as lost or stolen.

Here are a few ways to make sure your identity is not compromised:

• Know who you are giving your information

• Store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security Number

• Ask as many questions necessary before you feel confidential you are giving your information to a legitimately representative

• Maintain appropriate security on your electronic devices

Please call the DPSS Customer Service Call Center at (866) 613-3777 if you believe that you have been a victim of a phone or text scam.

Woman answering telephone
One Ring Scams 400 400 SIB Staff

One Ring Scams

One Ring Scam warning

Are you one of the many people that have received a late night call from the area listed as Sierra Leone? Don’t be quick to call back, especially if you don’t recognize the name or telephone number. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning the public of the “one ring” scam. How this scam works:

• Scammers allegedly target specific area codes in spurts and often call multiple times late at night. They immediately hang up after one or two rings.

• When you call the telephone number back, a cost is paid to the scammer. It is not just the fee, you also can be charged with significant charges per minute for as long as they keep you on the phone. The victim will eventually notice the charges on their bills as “premium” charges.

How to avoid this scam:

• Don’t answer or return any calls from numbers you don’t recognize.

• Check to see if the area code is international.

• If you don’t make international calls, have your local telephone company block outgoing international calls on your line.

• Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.

Blocking specific numbers don’t always work because scammers constantly change telephone numbers, so it is recommended to block international calls or calls from specific regions. Robocalls are becoming a nuisance. Know how to ward off these types of calls, prevent them and avoid being a victim of this potential scam. If you feel that you are a victim of an international phone scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC:https://bit.ly/2JuAhOC