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Yolo, Placer officials warn of employment, phone scams

Published: Wednesday, May. 14, 2014 - 8:57 pm

Law enforcement officials in Yolo and Placer counties are warning of scams, one involving offers of employment and the other, callers purporting to be utilities collection agents or employees of government agencies.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office advises residents to be alert to offers of employment that turn out to be scams. In a recent case, a Winters man lost $3,500 after using Craigslist to find a driving job, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

The man never met the employer and communicated only using text messaging. The victim’s new “employer” sent him two paychecks as an advance and told him to deposit the checks, keep a portion for himself and wire the remainder. By the time the victim learned that the checks were fraudulent, the wire transfer had gone through, leaving the victim responsible for the loss.

A second report involved a citizen who received a U.S Postal Service priority mail package containing an offer to be a “Mystery Shopper.” Included in the package were job duties and instructions to deposit the enclosed cashiers check, take out wages and wire the remaining funds to the person posing as the employer. This victim also was left responsible for the loss after realizing the checks were fake.

The DA’s office urges people seeking employment to be cautious when asked to cash checks or wire money for any reason. Officials advise job seekers to thoroughly check out any company offering employment and to get everything in writing.

For more information on how to avoid being victims of scams, call Enforcement Officer Derek Sorriano at the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, (530) 406-4503.

In Placer County, the Rocklin Police Department is investigating telephone scams involving requests for payment via prepaid debit cards. Local businesses have reported receiving telephone calls from a “spoofed,” or false caller ID, phone number, which originates from a Voice over Internet Protocol telephone service.

The callers identify themselves as utility collections agents or employees of specific government agencies. The caller threatens to shut off utility service, or has threatened deportation from the country, according to a Police Department news release. The victims are instructed to deliver payment to the suspects via prepaid debit-type cards to avoid having utilities shut off or being deported.

Police advise people who receive similar phone calls to hang up and contact the business by looking up the name of the business the caller provided, then obtaining a phone number and verifying with the business the legitimacy of the call. Officials note that most legitimate businesses and the government will not demand payment via a prepaid debit card.

People who believe they have been victims of such scams are advised to contact their local law enforcement agency.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke

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