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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Monday April 22nd, 2024 :: 11:50 a.m. PDT


Community Awareness of Financial Crimes Scams

Nature of Incident: Community Awareness of Financial Crimes Scams
Location: Fillmore, Ca
Date: 04/22/2024
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Investigations Bureau
The Fillmore Investigations Bureau would like to educate the community and remind them to be alert to ongoing financial scams that attempt to solicit funds from unsuspecting victims.  Millions of elderly Americans are targeted by criminals each year with a variety of financial fraud and/or confidence schemes. It is common for criminals to impersonate family members, government agencies, technical support professionals, banking institutions, and others to steal money and information.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Elder Fraud Report, the following are the most common types of fraud scams affecting victims over 60 years old:
Tech / Customer Support and Government Impersonation Scams
Tech / Customer Support derive from call centers that are often located outside of the United States.  These call centers overwhelmingly target the elderly and are responsible for defrauding thousands of victims each year.  Scammers will often exploit the victim’s naivety with technology and online banking to manufacture deceitful circumstances of outstanding debt or payment discrepancy requiring immediate corrective measures. Government impersonations can be perpetrated in a variety of ways, from a missed or overdue jury summons, outstanding and unpaid tickets, or false claims of a family member being in severe trouble with law enforcement. The scammers will demand monetary compensation in exchange for resolving the situation. The effects of these scams are devastating, with victims being coerced into providing large sums of money to remedy the issue.
Investment Scams
Trust-based investment scams often exploit the good-natured and trusting characteristics of the elderly to establish a rapport with the victims prior to offering low-risk investments with guaranteed returns.  Victims are pressured to invest as much money as possible into the fraudulent scheme, oftentimes being enticed to access and deplete saving accounts, retirement accounts, and/or the equity of their home. Reporting data indicates victims over 60 years old are devastatingly impacted, as they are typically on a fixed, limited income and often lose their entire life savings. 
Lottery / Sweepstakes / Inheritance Scams
The functionality of lottery / sweepstakes scams and inheritance scams are very similarly to one another, with the initial contact often being a call, email, social media notification, or a piece of mail notifying the victim of winning a big contest, lottery, or sweepstakes the victims did not enter, or as being the recipient of a large inheritance from a distant relative. In order to receive the proceeds of either the contest winnings or inheritance, the victim is instructed they are required to pay upfront fees and/or taxes. Depending on the susceptibility of the victim, the scammers can prolong the scam and demand additional payment for months or even years, with the promise of the prize or inheritance being contingent on the additional payments.
Romance / Confidence / Extortion Scams
Exploiting the victim’s confidence and affection, scammers will adopt a fake online personality and use their expertise in forming false emotional connections, giving the illusion of being caring, believable, and genuine. Once rapport is established with the victim, the scammer will use their romantic or close relationship to influence and manipulate the victim into providing them with money or other assets.  Scammers will often select a cover story, such as being in the military or employment in a trades-based industry, which would restrict their ability to meet the victim in person. This strategy also strengthens the plausibility of circumstances surrounding the scammers request for money to be sent overseas.  Another strategy associated with this scam is to extort the victim for monetary gain by threatening the release of sensitive data, such as sexually explicit photographs or reputationally damaging communications.
Tips for Protection
  • Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
  • Never give unknown, unverified persons remote access to devices or accounts.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Government or law enforcement officials will not demand payment by cryptocurrency, prepaid cards, wire transfers, or overnight mailed cash, nor contact a subject by phone to notify that they are under investigation.
  • Legitimate customer, security, or tech support companies will not initiate unsolicited contact with individuals, nor demand immediate payment or require payment via prepaid cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or mailed cash.
  • Legitimate lotteries and beneficiaries do not need to pay upfront taxes and fees to claim a prize or inheritance. Playing foreign lotteries in any form is a violation of federal law.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you do not know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account.
  • Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls. Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
  • Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
If you receive a suspected scam call, we recommend citizens hang up, block the number (if possible), and do not send the scammers any money. If you are unsure or concerned you may be involved in a scam, you can contact the Fillmore Police Department at 805-524-2235. If you are a victim of a scam, please contact the Sheriff’s Dispatch non-emergency number at 805-654-9511 to make a report. You can also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Fillmore Police Department would like to thank members of the public for their on-going support and due diligence in providing information to assist our agency in solving crimes. We are better at what we do because of our community partnerships.  Join us in the fight on crime by following us on Twitter @fillmoresheriff, Facebook, Instagram @VCSHERIFF, and with Nixle by texting your zip code to 888777 to receive local law enforcement and public safety alerts and advisories.
Prepared by: Senior Deputy Dustin Heersche  
News Release Date: April 22nd, 2024  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Senior Deputy Dustin Heersche
[email protected]
(805) 524-2233
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Eduardo Malagon
YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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