Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department Hollenbeck Division would like to alert the public of reports of fraud taking place to its community members.
The caller(s) are claiming the member's social security number has been stolen and a payment must be made via Bitcoin to avoid further fraud/theft.
The callers are telling the victims that they are from the Police Department and give out an 800-toll free number that they can verify the number by searching on the internet and it will show it's a Police Department toll free phone number.
The victims are being asked to empty their bank accounts to stop the fraud and theft, however this is a SCAM and ploy to empty the savings of the victims.
Please DO NOT follow their directions.
If you receive a call from anyone alerting you to Social Security theft, we ask that you contact your local LAPD station and your respective bank.
Get it in writing. Verbal promises don't count. It doesn't matter what the salesperson tells you, the only thing that matters is what's written down. Most sales contracts specifically state that verbal promises are not binding. That's why you need to read, understand, and agree to the terms before you sign any contract.
Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face. Seriously, just don't ever do it. And really, really don't do it if they ask you to use wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card (those cannot be traced and are as good as cash).
Don't believe everything you see. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean that it is. Even Caller ID can be faked.
Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it's over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security/Social Insurance numbers.
Don't be pressured to act immediately. Scammers typically try to make you think something is scarce or a limited time offer. They want to push you into action before you have time to think or to discuss it with a family member, friend, or financial advisor. High-pressure sales tactics are also used by some legitimate businesses, but it's never a good idea to make an important decision quickly.
Whenever possible, work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance, especially contractors who will be coming into your home or anyone dealing with your money or sensitive information. Check them out at bbb.org to see what other consumers have experienced.
Be cautious about what you share on social media and consider only connecting with people you already know. Be sure to use privacy settings on all social media and online accounts. Imposters often get information about their targets from their online interactions, and can make themselves sound like a friend or family member because they know so much about you.
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