Stealing YOUR Money
A few weeks ago, Sonoma County law enforcement agencies warned local residents that con artists were impersonating Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies and threatening people with immediate arrest if they didn’t pay for outstanding arrest warrants.
Sadly, victims paid thousands of dollars to the scammers, pulling cash from their bank accounts to avoid the consequences of these frightening threats.
Maybe you’ve heard of this before: some well-known agency such as the Internal Revenue Service, PG&E, or even a police department calling and demanding money from people, and threatening a drastic consequence if they don’t pay.
Please understand that these are scams. These callers are NOT from the official organizations they claim to represent. They are after your money, and they will threaten you with all kinds of consequences if you don’t give them what they want.
Even though this latest incident occurred in Sonoma County, our community is not immune to these types of scams. Whenever we hear about them in Ukiah, we publicize that information on our Ukiah Police Department Facebook page right away.
These days, crooks are creating increasingly complex scams. The scammers often call or email you at home, or send letters in the mail. They might know your name, address and other personal information, and they work hard to take advantage of your good will, to confuse you, or to scare you out of your money.
If someone is calling, emailing or sending you letters like this, please be suspicious.
These scammers can typically get ahold of a few personal facts about their victims, and this is all they need to convince people they are representing a legitimate cause. Once they start to gain a victim’s trust by suggesting they are there to help, they swoop in and ask for really personal information like social security numbers or bank account information, or they convince victims to send some form of payment—often cash.
Their whole goal is to steal YOUR money! Please trust your instincts. As soon as you hear that the only way to resolve an issue is with an immediate credit card payment, something is wrong.
If things don’t add up, hang-up! You’re being scammed!
In addition to the scams described above, we have continued to see a rise in package thefts recently.
I know ordering online is super easy—just place an order with the click of a button and within days, your items magically appear on your front doorstep. But please be careful. These packages are very attractive to those looking for a quick steal. Left unattended, these packages can disappear while we’re at work or out running errands.
To avoid losing these packages, here are a few tips:
If your employer will allow it, consider having packages delivered to your office.
Have packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person (like the home of a trusted neighbor or retired family member—people who are home during the day).
Request that the shipper hold your package at their facility so you pick it up in person.
Request a specific delivery date and time so you can be home when your package is delivered.
If you’re purchasing something from a large retailer, consider having your package delivered to the store.
Provide instructions so packages can be left in a location that is not visible from the street.
Sign up for delivery alerts, so you know when your package arrives.
If you haven’t already, go introduce yourself to your neighbors. Neighbors are the first step in helping us prevent crimes from occurring in our community. It’s really a simple idea; neighbors know the neighborhood. They know what’s normal and what might be cause for concern. Knowing your neighbors can help keep you and your possessions safe.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.