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SPPD: Reports of credit card telephone scam prompts warning

December 14, 2007
Santa Paula Police Department

Santa Paula Police have been receiving reports of a scam involving claims of unknown credit card charges being used to extract personal information from area residents that could lead to fraudulent charges and identity theft, according to a SPPD spokesman.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paula Police have been receiving reports of a scam involving claims of unknown credit card charges being used to extract personal information from area residents that could lead to fraudulent charges and identity theft, according to a SPPD spokesman. Sergeant Jimmy Fogata said that the scam concerns phone calls to residents alerting them to “unknown charges” on credit cards and the need to verify account details.“It’s a scam” if account details are requested, said Fogata. “If you get a call like that, hang up and call your bank or credit card company direct to make sure that it’s not someone scamming you” to obtain personal information that could lead to identity theft or fraudulent credit card charges.Another scam that just seems to linger on is the lottery scam, where someone who claims to have a winning lottery ticket paying a huge sum of money approaches a person. The ticket purchaser states that for some reason - illegally living in the country is a popular excuse - they cannot turn in the ticket. The scam artist asks that - in return for a huge cut of the prize - the victim put up good faith money before turning in the ticket and the winnings split.
Often the lottery ticket scam involves several people who act like they do not know the scammer and agree with the victim to help. “These types of scams tend to happen at this time of the year,” said Fogata.Gold bars are also a popular scam, with the victim told that the owner cannot sell the bar and will sell it to the victim for a very low price. The gold bar is, of course, a fake.Fogata said that scams can include hard luck stories and a need for quick cash being the impetus for the transaction. Although there have been no reports of lottery and gold bar scams in the city, with reports of the credit card verification scam Fogata said it’s a good time to warn of other traps to illegally separate citizens from their money.