SIMI VALLEY ( — Police warned the public Friday of a new delivery scam that is affecting residents across the country.

According to the Simi Valley Police Department, victims typically first receive a call from a fake courier service asking when a package can be delivered as it requires a direct signature.

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A “delivery person” then arrives at the address and brings a basket of flowers or wine. There will be no sender information attached to the package.

A $3.50 delivery verification charge will be required as the package contains alcohol. The charge is required to show that the item was delivered to an adult of legal drinking age.

The delivery company requires for the fee to be paid by credit or debit card, instead of cash, so there would be a legal record of the transaction.

The credit card is then swiped into a small mobile card machine, which has a small screen and keypad to enter the PIN and security number.

A receipt is then printed out and given to the victim as a copy of the transaction.

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Within a few days of receiving the delivery, funds are usually depleted from bank accounts. In some cases, thousands of dollars were charged to credit cards.

Banks can be notified of the crime and cards can be replaced as a precaution. However, the problem lies in the fact you may still be out of money.

Police advised the public to follow these tips in order to avoid being targeted by the scam:

— Be wary of accepting any surprise gift or package that you did not expect or personally order, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the package

— Never accept anything if you do not personally know who sent it or there is no proper identification of who the sender is

— The only time you should give out any personal card information is when you initiate a purchase or transaction

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For more information, contact the Simi Valley Police Department’s Crime Prevention bureau at (805) 583-6276.