Public Safety Information: Don't Fall Victim to Scam Artists, Part 2

As part of the Santa Clarita Valley Station's continued outreach efforts aimed at keeping the public informed about crime and crime rates in our community, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station wants to raise awareness about a number of scams that are becoming more prevalent in the Santa Clarita Valley. Part-2 of our public safety series is intended to offer information about how to avoid falling victim to theft related scams.

Recently, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station became aware of a scam involving local college students. While on campus, college students have been approached by a scam artist who asks them if they are interested in receiving financial aid for college. The scam artist will ask the college student for their phone number. A few days later the college student will receive a phone call from a person claiming to be the representative of a financial aid company. The college students are generally asked to provide their full name, the last four digits of their Social Security number and which financial institution they bank with. They are told a large sum of money will be deposited into their account. The college student will be instructed to withdraw half of the money that was deposited and to give it to the original scam artist who will meet them at the bank. The college student is told they can then keep the other half of the money deposited for college financial aid. Later, sometimes weeks, the college student will discover the money that was deposited into their account was from a counterfeit check. The scam artist is now nowhere to be found, and the student is left to repay the bank.

Another scam we have seen in the Santa Clarita Valley involves illegal solicitation.

Be aware of scam artists who claim to be soliciting charitable donations. These criminals look to prey on those people who are simply trying to help others. The public is advised to be leery of unsolicited calls, door to door or Internet solicitations and other approaches by unknown groups claiming to be accepting money on behalf of charities. Santa Clarita residents should be on watch for solicitations by persons claiming to represent victims of terrorism, local hospitals, or public safety entities, such as police or fire departments. Beware of any solicitor who offers to pick up your donation at your home or office, or who asks you to make out a check to names other than the charity they claim to represent. To ensure that your donations benefit actual charities, it is better to make your donations directly to the charity of your choice after verifying its legal status. Under the law, charitable groups must have a legal status with the Internal Revenue Service and must be registered with the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General.

The public should also be aware of door-to-door sales people who try to sell cleaning supplies or other products and offer in home demonstrations. Often times these sales people will enter your home to demonstrate how their cleaning product works on your interior carpet. While inside your home, the salesperson can easily take a visual inventory of your personal items and then decide if your residence would be a good target to break into.

We encourage residents to immediately report criminal or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. If you have fallen victim to one of these scams, please call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at 661-255-1121. We encourage you to stay engaged with helping us keep Santa Clarita safe.

Remember by working together we can send a "Not in Santa Clarita" message!

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