Police / Fire

Police warn of phone scam

Woman reports scammers are claiming to be from the IRS or local police department in an attempt to obtain money fraudulently

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, unknown suspects attempted to scam an elderly woman out of money using the Hollister Police Department’s name and phone number, the department announced in a press release.

The woman called police to report ongoing phone scams. Weeks ago, police said, she received a phone call from a person who identified themselves as being with the Internal Revenue Service. The caller ID was from Florida. The person told the woman she owed money to the government and threatened to take legal action. The caller hung up when the woman stated she would have her accountant and lawyer contact the IRS.

Recently, the woman received a phone call from a male who identified himself as a Hollister Police officer. The male told her she owed money and the police would be freezing her assets. He also asked for her location. The phone number on her caller ID came back as the Hollister Police Department’s business phone number. Believing this was once again a scam, the woman hung up and called the department's dispatch center.

In the release, police said, "These sorts of scams are on the rise. There are programs that allow a person to change what number appears on the caller ID when they call."

Other phone scams include a fake police officer calling and telling the intended victim they have a warrant for their arrest. The fake officer then gives the victim the option to pay the warrant off over the phone. Suspects will also call pretending to be with the IRS or a debt collection agency and then ask for personal information including Social Security Numbers or bank account information to “confirm who you are.”

The Hollister Police Department said it wants the public to know officers will never call to inform someone their bank account will be frozen.

"We will never call and ask for your Social Security Number or bank account information," the release said. "We will not call to warn you that we are on our way to arrest you if you do not pay us money. If you receive any phone calls from someone identifying themselves as a police officer and believe it is a scam, please call our non-emergency line at (831) 636-4331."

BenitoLink Staff