By Mary O’KEEFE
Law enforcement cautions the public to be alert and aware of phone scams that have been occurring recently in the area.
Glendale police responded to a call this week when a resident received a phone call stating the person owed money for missing jury duty. The caller claimed to be a lieutenant from the Grand Jury and told the resident she owed $401 for missing jury duty. He asked her to purchase a “green dot” card, a prepaid debit credit card. The caller already had the woman’s name, address and telephone number.
This is not the only recent incident. Other callers have contacted residents claiming they are from the Glendale Police Dept., Glendale Water and Power and, as occurred last week at a home on Henrietta Avenue, the Internal Revenue Service.
There have also been reports of a young man going door-to-door asking for donations for the Crescenta Valley High School baseball team. The CVHS team does not ask for donations in this manner, according to CVHS staff. If someone receives a phone call and the caller asks for money, especially requesting a green dot card be purchased, the resident is advised to contact the local law enforcement agency.
If someone comes to the door asking for donations or a payment and they do not have the proper identification, or the resident feels they are suspicious, they are advised to call 911.
“If it is someone over the phone [claiming] to be from a government agency [including a police department] and asks you to purchase a green card, it is 99.9% [guaranteed] they are not from the government agency,” said Sgt. Shoemaker, CV Sheriff’s Station.
A recent victim of a fraudulent IRS call stated that when she asked more questions, the caller became agitated and aggressive, threatening to have the FBI and other law enforcement come to the resident’s home if they did not pay over $1,000.
“What a [resident] can do is to say [to the caller], ‘Meet me at the CV Sheriff’s Station lobby and we will conduct the transaction there,’” Shoemaker suggested.
In that way, the sheriffs are directly involved. It is Shoemaker’s suspicion that the caller would not actually show up at the station.
Predator callers often have information on the resident including name and address. In some reported cases, they are able to obtain more information simply by phrasing the questions in a particular way; for example, asking the resident to “verify” their social security number.
Law enforcement advises residents to trust their instinct; if it appears suspicious, contact law enforcement and do not give any personal information over the phone.
Local law enforcement numbers are Glendale Police Dept. (818) 548-4840; Los Angeles County Sheriff’s, CV Station (818) 248-3464; L.A. Police Dept./Foothill Community Police Station