SIMI VALLEY ( — The Simi Valley Police Department is warning residents to be wary of scam artists using the phone to steal money from the unsuspecting.

The police said they have received numerous complaints of people who have been recently and randomly victimized.

The unknown suspect(s) calls a victim and uses a variety of ruses to get money.

In one call, the suspect tells the party a relative has been arrested and is in need of bail money. In other calls, the suspect tells the victim they are with the IRS and seeking money for phony tax liens.

Police said these calls are similar in nature to E-mail scams in which the sender promises to send huge amounts of cash for a relatively small investment.

In a statement, the police said they “would like to remind residents to be extremely vigilant in any case where unknown persons attempt to solicit money by phone or E-mail.”

They also provided tips to avoid being scammed.

• If you receive a suspicious call, do not wire money or provide any personal details about yourself such as account or identification numbers.

• If the individual claims to be from a government agency such as the IRS, attempt to get their name and then call the IRS help line at (800) 829-1040 to verify the call’s authenticity.

• If you are told a family member is in jail, ask the caller to identify the individual, the arresting agency, and the facility where they are being held; hang up the phone and call those agencies directly to verify the information.

• If you have sent money by wire or mail, please call the Simi Valley police to file a report (805) 583-6950. Detectives said it would also be helpful if you could provide the account number and/or address where you sent the money. Any identifying information about the suspect(s) such as a phone number captured on caller-ID would also be important.

• Avoid becoming a victim by questioning and verifying everything you are told. Trust your own instincts and be wary of unknown callers seeking money.


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