Updated Aug. 18, 10:01 a.m.–
Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights police are warning residents to not fall for a new phone scam involving a caller who claims to be with the Citrus Heights Police Department. At least one woman has already fallen victim to the scam.
Police posted a scam alert on the department’s social media pages late Thursday night, stating that a scammer has been telling people that a relative was arrested and “they need to send gift cards for their relative’s release.”
Lt. David Gutierrez later told The Sentinel that a woman in Sacramento County had been contacted by a female scammer who said she was from the Citrus Heights Police Department. The scammer reportedly told the woman that her husband had been arrested and she needed to send iTunes and Google Play gift cards, and the woman did so.
Gutierrez said no government agency would ever ask for payment via re-loadable gift cards and offered the following tips for avoiding falling victim to scams:
- Some scammers will know your family member names. Do not be fooled by this. It is very easy to locate this information online, especially if you use social media. Make sure to adjust your social media privacy settings and never share anything on social media that you would not want the whole world to know.
- Do not be fooled by caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you are not sure what to do, you should contact someone you trust to ask for guidance. Never pay up front for anything.
- If someone is asking for money in any form, or for your personal information, hang up.
- If you become a victim of a scam (actual loss of money or property), please call your local law enforcement agency to report the crime.
- If you received a scam phone call, but did not fall for it, we would encourage your to call your local law enforcement agency to report the attempt. Although a crime report would likely not be taken, the information can be utilized for future investigations. Try to obtain as much information as possible, including the phone number, name(s), and specific information pertaining to the attempted scam.