Law-enforcement officials have issued a warning about a phone scam with someone masquerading as a police officer or deputy and demanding money.
Last weekend, a caller threatened a Laguna Hills man and told him SWAT officers would come to his home if he didn’t make a $4,000 payment, said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The calls are especially troublesome because the scammers use a program to make the caller ID appear as if the call is coming from the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Santa Ana office, Hallock said.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, law-enforcement officials do not solicit donations or collections over the phone.
Officials urged residents not to give personal information such as Social Security numbers and bank-account information over the phone.
The Laguna Hills man reported being contacted on his cellphone by someone who identified himself as Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings, Hallock said.
The caller said he was working with the IRS to collect a debt and instructed the resident to buy $4,000 in MoneyPak online cash cards, Hallock said. The caller is believed to have threatened to send the department’s SWAT team to collect if no payment was received.
On Oct. 29, another caller who identified himself as a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department called a Yorba Linda woman and tried to collect $365 for a traffic violation, officials said.
The caller told the woman to buy MoneyPak cards and provide the number over the phone to pay for the citation.
Officials ask that anyone receiving a similar phone call contact the Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000.
By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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