Police issue fraud-scam alert

In the past year, the Ridgecrest Police Department has been made aware of numerous scams that have claimed large amounts of money from several local victims. The following information could help the public stay informed and safe from such fraudulent scams.

Be suspicious of correspondence or telephone calls that include but are not limited to:

• You have won a lottery

• You have a family member incarcerated out the country that needs financial help

• You are being offered the ability to work from home

• You are offered a secret shopper job that the caller suggests will make you a lot of money

• You are requested to “wire,” “send” or “ship” money in order to claim a prize, gift, deposit, or loan of any kind

The department also reminds the public to be cautious of personal and account information and encourages them not to release this information.

In some scams, the criminals will call the victims (who have previously sent money out of the county because of a scam) and identify themselves as law-enforcement officials from other agencies.

The criminal will inform the victim that it is illegal to send money to the scammer as it was used to fund criminal enterprise. The criminal impersonator will then instruct the victim to pay a fine by sending money to a designated location, usually overseas. In most cases, if the victim refuses to pay the fine, the criminal will threaten to arrest him or her.

It is important to remember that law enforcement officers will not contact the public by telephone and demand money or any other form of payment. Several resources online can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim: www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud, or http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com/fraud.aspx. If you are unsure if you are in involved in a scam, contact the Ridgecrest Police Department at 400-5100, for more information on this subject.

Story First Published: 2013-09-25