The Sacramento Police Department would like to remind the public to avoid phone scams that are affecting people in the Sacramento area.
Scam artists are contacting potential victims with promises of prize money for a significant upfront fee. In some cases the scammers make elaborate attempts to verify themselves by directing victims to call a third party or "agent" who can finalize receipt of the "prize money." They state that all the person needs to do is finalize the process by paying them a processing fee into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. The scammer may attempt to entice the victim by "matching" the amount of the processing fee with a certified check. This promise to match the processing fee is predicated on the victim providing the scammer with sensitive financial and/or personal information. The scammer promises to then deliver the prize money in a few days, which never happens.
The scammer may also attempt to "draw victims in" by reciting information that is easily gathered from public information sources. Examples of information may be the victim's address or phone number that could have been listed online or in a phone directory.
The following is a list of things to remember to avoid being scammed.
1. No legitimate banking institution or sweepstakes type institution will ever ask you to provide an upfront fee for any type of payment or prize money.
2. Even if they have some of your vital information never verify that the information is correct or provide additional sensitive information about yourself.
3. Never give personal information to someone over the phone.
4. If you are unsure what to do, call and report all suspicious calls to the Sacramento Police Department.
5. Check with your bank to make sure no one has accessed your account. If you think it might have been compromised, have the bank issue a new account number.