Glendale police are warning about a phone scam where individuals posing as law enforcement officials, federal agents or city employees call residents and business owners and pressure them for money or else they will be arrested or have their utilities shut off.
The callers ask them to buy prepaid cards such as MoneyPak or Reloadit and then have them read back the serial numbers over the phone, said Tahnee Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for the Glendale Police Department.
So far, $11,000 appears to have been scammed, she said.
The individuals making the calls have pretended to be Internal Revenue Service agents, telling victims that they owe the government money. The callers then tell the victims they must pay or an arrest warrant will be issued, Lightfoot said.
Other scenarios include posing as utility companies, claiming bills haven't been paid as well as alerting people that they have failed to report for jury duty and a fine must be paid or an arrest warrant will be issued, according to police.
The callers have also posed as police officials saying that a victim's family member has been arrested and that if the bail was not paid by phone, the relative will be jailed for a longer period of time, Lightfoot said.
Also, some residents have been told they have won a large sum of money through a sweepstakes or lottery and that government fees or taxes are required to be paid in order to claim the winnings, she added.
Law enforcement agencies, the IRS and utility companies do not collect money through prepaid cards.
Police are urging people who get calls like this to ask for the caller's name, serial number, phone number and the name of their supervisor or to simply hang up and alert their utility, the IRS or the authorities.
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