The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous reports today of a phone scam targeting our community, claiming to be a Sheriff's Office Sergeant.
As part of this scam, the caller claims they are from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and may identify as current and/or former employees. The scammer tells the victim that he is with the “Citations and Warrants Division” of our office and claims the victim has a warrant for their arrest. The scammer uses fear of being jailed to elicit personal information and money from the victim. Some victims even report the scam to have spoofed the HCSO's phone number (707-445-7251), with their caller ID identifying the caller as our office.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like the community to know that this is a scam. While law enforcement may contact you regarding a warrant or investigation, we will never demand payment in exchange for dropping a warrant or stopping an investigation, nor will we encourage you to seek a bail bond to avoid being booked into our correctional facility. Additionally, no government agency will ask you to mail large sums of cash or pay with gift cards.
Remember these tips to help protect yourself from fraud:
1. Spot imposters
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity or a company with which you do business. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email.
2. Do online searches
Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
3. Don’t believe your caller ID
Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
4. Talk to someone
Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
5. Don’t rely on personal information
Living in the digital age, access to information is easier than ever. Scammers are often able to get their hands on very personal information, providing it to their victims to make their scam look more legitimate. Don’t trust a scammer who is able to provide your personal information. If you followed the above tips and still aren’t sure, call back at a publicly listed number for the organization from which the scammer claims to be or contact your loved one directly.
Sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s scam alerts at ftc.gov/scams.
Visit https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds#item-35157 to learn how to report scams.
Visit https://humboldtgov.org/2864/Scam-Information to learn more about some of the common scams reported to the HCSO.
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