Sgt. Chris Maurizi from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Detective Bureau appeared on the latest “Santa Clarita Sheriff Talk” on KHTS AM-1220 to talk about phone scams in Santa Clarita.
The bureau’s burglary/theft team, which is comprised of Maurizi and nine detectives he oversees, handles phone scams.
“Since I have been at the station, I’ve noticed a little bit of an increase (in phone scams),” Maurizi said. “We probably average anywhere between 10 and 20 a month.”
This time of year, a common phone scam seen in the area involves a scammer pretending to be the IRS and claiming their victim owes money.
“It’s based on the time of year, because people do expect to hear from the IRS, whether it’s a refund or whether you owe money,” Maurizi explained. “The simplest way to combat that scam is to hang up on the person and call the IRS or call the franchise tax board and inquire about your taxes, or contact whoever did your taxes.”
A number of phone scams often involve a scammer posing as a government official and claiming that the person they’re calling has a traffic warrant or an outstanding arrest warrant, missed jury duty or has a family member in jail in need of money for bail.
Maurizi noted that the most important thing to remember is that government officials will never try to collect payments over the phone.
“Law enforcement, the courts, whether it’s city, state, county, federal — we do not solicit money over the phone,” Maurizi said.
Because these types of scams are not quickly traceable, Maurizi added that educating the public to be on the lookout for potential scams is vital in preventing these crimes.
“People need to take a little bit more precaution about what they’re doing online and on the phone,” he said. “If you navigate the internet appropriately, you can find a bunch of information that educates you on that.”
Official information regarding phone scams, according to Maurizi, is available online from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI. Community members can also follow the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Nixle to receive notifications of scams and other crimes in the area.
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