Thursday, September 01, 2016

Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson Issues Phone Scam Alert


Special Operations Division (925) 957-8604

900 Ward Street, Fourth Floor Fax (925) 646-4683

P.O. Box 670

Martinez, California 94553


Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson Issues Phone Scam Alert

MARTINEZ, CA – Mark A. Peterson, District Attorney of Contra Costa County, is

reminding residents to beware of widespread telephone scams. “The best way to

ensure our residents are protected is to make sure they are informed and are skeptical

of callers demanding money,” said District Attorney Mark Peterson, “There are many

scams out there. The more aware people are of scams in general, the more vigilant

they will be.”

Recently reported scams include:
Calls from a person claiming to be a police officer stating that the victim has an

arrest warrant pending and that the victim will be arrested.
Calls from a person claiming to be a police officer stating that there is a problem

with the victim’s Social Security Number or Identification Number and that an

officer would be coming to the victim’s home within the hour.
A “robocall” stating that the local county sheriff will arrest the citizen for criminal

A phone call from someone pretending to be a family member saying they were

arrested or had an emergency while traveling in a foreign country.
Fake IRS agents are calling taxpayers claiming they owe taxes and must make a

payment immediately or risk going to jail, being deported, or losing their business

or driver’s license.
Calls threatening the victim with prosecution for failing to comply with a summons

for jury service in federal or state courts.
Calls reporting that there is something wrong with the victim’s computer and the

victim should give someone remote access.

During these calls, recipients are pressured to send money or prepaid credit cards, or to

provide confidential personal information, which can lead to identity theft and fraud.

These calls can appear legitimate because the scammers may even know the last four

digits of the victim’s social security number or other personal information, including a

relative’s name.

Generally, the scammers rent or purchase phone numbers in bulk that can, in turn, be

used by a software program that automatically dials victims. The scammers’ phone

number can either be masked to make it appear that they are calling from the IRS or

from local law enforcement, or the scammers use the numbers for a short period of time

and then get new numbers to continue their scams. Unfortunately, this makes the

fraudsters difficult to locate and prosecute. Sometimes, the callers are even located

outside the United States.
Here’s how to help protect yourself:

Know that IRS agents usually contact individuals by mail first. They NEVER

demand payment by debit card, wire transfer or credit card.
Know that law enforcement agencies will NEVER ask for payment over the

phone or offer to negotiate an outstanding warrant for a reduced payment, in lieu

of arrest.
Ask questions – When you receive a suspicious call, be skeptical and ask for

details to find out why the person is calling.
Verify the answers – If the person is claiming to be a relative, call the relative or

their immediate family on a known phone number to verify if they were travelling

and if they are ok. If the person is calling from a department or agency, call the

public number for the department and see if the person really works there and

whether there is really a warrant, etc.
Never provide your social security number or other personal identifying or

financial information to an unsolicited caller.
Don’t send cash by messenger, overnight mail, money transfer, or prepaid credit

card. If you use cash or a money transfer — rather than a traditional credit card

— you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges.
Always check with a loved one or trusted advisor before sending money.

If you get a call from a scammer, hang up the phone.

Report scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission

( or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Report IRS scams to the federal reporting system. The IRS tracks complaints

regarding IRS scams and is interested in the information gleaned from those

complaints. Make reports at:

For more information on IRS scams, please click here:

No comments: