Phony cop scam targets San Mateo victims

Several San Mateo residents raised red flags with police over the weekend after receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer demanding money.  

After being told they had a bench warrant out for their arrest, residents were instructed to send money through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Victims were told that should they not comply, they would be arrested.

San Mateo police confirm that law enforcement agencies do not make calls like this.

Most troubling. though, is that whoever is behind the scam has figured out how to have the police department’s number be listed as the caller ID when they phone victims.

This latest phone scam is part of a larger problem sweeping the Bay Area. Just last week Bay City News reported on PG&E phone and e-mail scams in Napa, Berkeley and San Mateo county.

In those cases, a scam artist posing as a PG&E representative instructs the victim load a pre-paid credit card or electronically wire $500 or else risk having their power shut off.

As with the San Mateo Police, PG&E officials say their credit department does not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone.

Anybody who receives such a call or suspects they have been the victim of either of these scams is advised to contact the police.