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Phone scams on the rise in SCV

Posted: January 16, 2014 7:54 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2014 7:54 p.m.

Mary and Ray Schulz weren’t born yesterday, so when a con artist phoned and asked for their credit card information, the Newhall couple suspected the call was a scam.

Now they want to alert others about the phone-calling con artists who local sheriff’s deputies say are targeting Santa Clartia Valley residents at a worrying rate.

“Someone called us and said our electricity was going to be turned off because we hadn’t paid our bill,” Mary Schulz, 75, told The Signal Thursday.

“They wanted us to send money right away, but my husband, who is 80, said, ‘Let me get the bill,’ and we told them we had a $12 credit. They told us to give them our credit card number, but we wouldn’t.

“I told them, ‘Give me your phone number and I’ll call you right back,’” she said, adding the caller refused to give a call-back number.

Sheriff’s deputies have issued a warning for residents to be aware of the scam.

“In the past few days our Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station watch deputies, working our station’s front desk, have received an increased volume of calls from Santa Clarita residents regarding phone scams,” Deputy Josh Dubin said.

In a separate scam, some residents have reported receiving phone calls from an unknown caller stating that a family member is in jail in Mexico, Dubin said. The caller will request $2,000 be wired or sent immediately, he said, so that the family member will be released from jail.

“It’s not just seniors who are victims,” Dubin said.

In the scam that rang the phone inside the Schulz’s home, the callers demanding an electric-bill payment sometimes ask for a prepaid cash card, Dubin said. Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number, he said.

If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to Southern California Edison at 800-655-4555.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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