The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office warns residents that multiple phone scams and door-to-door fraud schemes have been reported in the county. Many of the scam phone calls are made by a person claiming to be a law enforcement officer or government employee, the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. In the door-to-door fraud schemes, a person presents a resident with false legal papers or a forged arrest warrant and demands they give money in order to avoid arrest or other consequences.
Other scams involve a caller claiming to be from “Windows Technical Support” or other “official-sounding commercial offices,” the press release said. Residents should be wary of callers who speak about a problem and demand identifying information from the recipient, such as name, address, or financial information, “to make sure we have the right person.” This is because if someone is calling to report a real issue, they should already know whom they are calling. People should ask a suspicious caller for their phone number and offer to call back later. A scammer usually refuses to do so and threatens the person on the other line, the press release said.
If someone serves a resident with legal papers at the door, those papers should be left with the resident rather than briefly flashed. Additionally, people should ask to read an officer’s badge and ID card — a real officer would not object to this, the Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office also reminds people that government officers never demand credit or debit card information at a resident’s door or by phone, and such officers rarely make first contact with a resident by phone.