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Phone scams involving con artists posing as law enforcement officials are on the rise, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department warns.

Earlier this week, the Reader reported on the case of an alleged California Highway Patrol officer (actually a scammer) who nearly bilked $2,400 out of an elderly couple by feigning that their grandson was being held in jail due to a lapse in insurance coverage.

Now, deputies say, criminals are targeting victims by calling them and claiming that they have bogus outstanding warrants, and that a local police officer will be sent to arrest them unless they remit cash payments immediately.

In another case, someone ironically claiming to represent the Sheriff’s “Financial Crimes Unit” called a 69 year-old Fashion Valley resident to inform her that she’d won a $600,000 prize. Before claiming it, however, she needed to remit a tax payment to an address the caller provided. Suspicious, the woman contacted law enforcement and discovered the scam before making any payments.

The Sheriff’s Department wants to remind residents that no law enforcement officer would ever demand payment by way of phone call, and that if any such call is received they advise to hang up immediately, without disclosing any personal information.

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