The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a new variation of phone scam that impersonates law enforcement. In this recent case, the caller portrayed himself as an FBI agent who claimed he has discovered you won a prize that was never awarded to you. The scammer then asks for money to be sent to him. To try to convince you to send the money, the scammer will fake a phone call from local law enforcement. In this case the scammer had a second scammer pretend to be Sheriff John D’Agostini. These scammers can be particularly convincing, because they can make the number they called from appear on your caller ID to be any number including that of the FBI.
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It is important to remember that law enforcement will never call anyone asking for money, ever. When talking to anyone on the phone it is important to remember that you cannot confirm who they really are. Before giving any financial or personal information you should be positive the people receiving the information are who they say they are. If you are unsure, you can always hang up and call the person yourself at a number you know is a real phone number belonging to the financial institution or law enforcement agency.
In El Dorado County the Sheriff’s Department investigates hundreds of cases annually involving phone and emails scams, but the number of incidents that are not reported is likely much higher. The elderly are more often targeted and can easily become drawn into the scam.