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Humboldt County Sheriff's Office warns of phone scam

Another phone scam targeting Humboldt County has left one person short of $1,800.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 12:58 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 1:00 PM

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. - Another phone scam targeting Humboldt County has left one person short of $1,800.

The victim told the sheriff’s office she received a call from someone claiming to be with the Texas Department of Justice. They told her that someone registered 25 homes in her name in Texas, which she never claimed on her taxes. 

The scammer also told the victim that 25 pounds of narcotics were found in one of the homes allegedly registered under her name. If she hung up the phone, she would be arrested and sent to prison, according to the scammer. 

The scammer then told the victim that she would have to purchase three Target gift cards and read the card numbers over the phone. 

Residents across Humboldt County have contacted the sheriff’s office reporting various phone scams, many of which begin with a recorded voicemail claiming to be with social security or law enforcement.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department released the following tips to avoid scammers: 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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