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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Thursday January 26th, 2017 :: 03:39 p.m. PST


Moorpark News Story Phone Scam

Nature of Incident: Phone Scam Targets Elderly Residents
Location: City of Moorpark and surrounding areas
Unit(s) Responsible: Moorpark Investigations
Recently, criminals have been targeting victims in Moorpark and surrounding cities with phone scams.  The most recent scam targets elderly victims where the caller claims to be a grandchild needing bail money.
In the Bail Scam, the caller is proficient at manipulating the victim into inadvertently giving the caller personal information such as their grandchild’s name.  The caller then confirms, “Yes, it’s me Johnny,” (or whatever name the victim provided.) The caller proceeds to tell the victim they are in jail and need bail money.  In most cases, someone else claiming to be an attorney takes over the phone call and provides the victim with instructions on how to post the bail.  The “attorney” tells the victim to purchase gift cards for a specified amount at local retailers.  A few hours later, the “attorney” calls the victim back and instructs the victim to read them the gift card and pin numbers.  Once the “attorney” obtains the specified bail amount, the “attorney” will often instruct the victim to purchase additional gift cards in order to pay for attorney fees, transportation for the grandchild, and various other incidental charges.  In some of the cases, the “attorney” coached the victim to tell the store clerk the gift card was for a wedding gift, if the clerk happened to question the victim regarding the unusually high dollar amount.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be your grandchild (or other relative), or by someone claiming to be their attorney or a jail representative, obtain their phone number and tell them you will call them back.  Then, call your loved one on a number you know to be theirs to determine if they are actually in jail.  If you are unable to reach them, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.  If you are able to reach them and determine they are not in jail, then someone is attempting to scam you.  Call your local law enforcement agency immediately. 
Jail facilities DO NOT accept gift cards as bail payment, and they DO NOT accept money wired to an account as bail payment.
To hear about the most up to date scams reported by Moorpark residents, please call the Moorpark Police Fraud Hotline at (805) 299-1566.  Please contact the Moorpark Police Department at (805) 532-2700 or dispatch at (805) 654-9511 if you have any doubt about the validity of a transaction or phone call. 
Prepared by: Senior Deputy Becky Purnell  
News Release Date: 1/26/2017  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Investigator Amy Garcia / (805) 532-2650  
Approved by: Captain John Reilly  

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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