Ventura County Sheriff Warns Local Residents About a New Scam

From the Ventura County Sheriff's Department as a warning for citizens to avoid being victimized by scams

Criminals are constantly looking for new methods to steal goods and money from citizens of Ventura County, and scams are part of this evolving criminal activity.

In some scams, criminals will prey upon elderly or susceptible victims by calling and telling them that a family member is in jail in another country. The criminals focus on the need for the victim to act quickly or the family member’s safety may be in jeopardy. Money is frequently sent (wired) to locations outside of the United States by the victims and is virtually untraceable once transferred.

Other scams include victims being contacted by a subject claiming the victim has won an international lottery and the victim needs to send money, again to a location outside of the United States, to cover taxes and tariffs. Victims will frequently wire the requested money, which is untraceable once transferred.

Recently, a new scam has surfaced locally where suspects are calling victims and claiming to be members of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. One suspect even claimed to be the Sheriff himself. In these cases the callers are telling the victims they need to provide money for a family member who is in jail, or that the FBI is conducting an operation and the victim needs to provide money. The criminals in this most recent scam are attempting to make their requests sound legitimate by using genuine identities. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office wants to ensure the citizens of Ventura County, that members of this Department will not call citizens requesting money on behalf of someone in custody nor do we favor or recommend one bail bond company over another.

If anyone is contacted by someone claiming to be a member of the Sheriff’s Office requesting money for someone in custody, you may call Sheriff’s Public Reception at 805-654-3335, or visit our website to help determine if the person is in custody.

Additionally, if someone is contacted and requested to donate or provide money to the Sheriff’s Office, we urge them to contact their local police agency before parting with any money or information.