SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - People throughout California, and maybe the nation, are being targeted by phone scam callers posing as law enforcement officers.
Sheriffs departments in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern counties, just to name a few, are urging resident not to fall for it.
Unfortunately Virginia Gibson realized is was a scam too late.
This week Gibson received a call from a man, with a twang in his voice, who knew her name and where she lived. He told her there was a warrant out for her arrest for failing to respond to a grand jury summons.
Gibson, the granddaughter of a judge, lives on Social Security said she was an easy mark. She decided to share her story to prevent others from losing their hard-earned money. Gibson said she wanted to clear it up right away, so she did what she was told to do. She went to the bank and took out $500 and put $493.09 on a pre-paid debit card she bought at a local drug store. She was told she had to call the man back with the card number before 6 p.m. to pay a fine. She did just that and a short time later the man posing as a Captain called back to say his lieutenant needed another $180 to clear up another fine. That's when Gibson realized she had been scammed.
She went to the Sheriff's department to report it and found half a dozen other people reporting the same scam. Some were there to pay the fine in person, only to learn they didn't own any money at all..
Sheriff's deputies said they would never ask for money over the phone and if there was a warrant out for your arrest deputies said they would notify you by mail or in person.
Camarillo Detective Julie Novak said she called one of the scammers using a Thousand Oaks number. The man who answered told her he would never be caught because his real number was "so buried" in the technology.
Novak was not sure where the scammer was located, he may have been in another state or another country.
NewsChannel 3 called the number Virginia Gibson had called and they had been disconnected.
Sheriff's deputies wants to caution residents. If people get a call of this nature they should hang up and call 9-1-1 to report the incident.
Local merchants who sell pre-paid credit cards are also being notified to warn potential victims.