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Phone scams on the rise in SCV

Posted: January 16, 2014 7:54 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2014 7:54 p.m.

Mary and Ray Schulz weren’t born yesterday, so when a con artist phoned and asked for their credit card information, the Newhall couple suspected the call was a scam.

Now they want to alert others about the phone-calling con artists who local sheriff’s deputies say are targeting Santa Clartia Valley residents at a worrying rate.

“Someone called us and said our electricity was going to be turned off because we hadn’t paid our bill,” Mary Schulz, 75, told The Signal Thursday.

“They wanted us to send money right away, but my husband, who is 80, said, ‘Let me get the bill,’ and we told them we had a $12 credit. They told us to give them our credit card number, but we wouldn’t.

“I told them, ‘Give me your phone number and I’ll call you right back,’” she said, adding the caller refused to give a call-back number.

Sheriff’s deputies have issued a warning for residents to be aware of the scam.

“In the past few days our Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station watch deputies, working our station’s front desk, have received an increased volume of calls from Santa Clarita residents regarding phone scams,” Deputy Josh Dubin said.

In a separate scam, some residents have reported receiving phone calls from an unknown caller stating that a family member is in jail in Mexico, Dubin said. The caller will request $2,000 be wired or sent immediately, he said, so that the family member will be released from jail.

“It’s not just seniors who are victims,” Dubin said.

In the scam that rang the phone inside the Schulz’s home, the callers demanding an electric-bill payment sometimes ask for a prepaid cash card, Dubin said. Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number, he said.

If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to Southern California Edison at 800-655-4555.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


scvforall: Posted: January 17, 2014 11:23 p.m.

Why isn't anything being done about do no call violations. I must receive 5 calls a day from solar companies and contractors in the neighborhood.

Rocketeer: Posted: January 17, 2014 12:01 a.m.

These darn scammers make it so difficult for an honest Nigerian prince like myself to find someone to help me get my lottery winnings transferred to America.

In all seriousness we've all given up all our privacy to the NSA and Obama and in return not only have no terrorists been caught but they can't even protect us from criminals like this? Sounds like the real scammers work from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

scv_donn: Posted: January 17, 2014 6:32 a.m.

Right there with you scvforall, those solar companies are ruthless and extremely rude.

itzreality: Posted: January 17, 2014 7:07 a.m.

The Do not call list is just a scam by the Feds. They do nothing and when you call them they ask if you are on the list and their reply is we cannot do much1 Just another way of our do nothing government wasting our tax dollars!

scvforall: Posted: January 17, 2014 7:48 a.m.

Rocketeer: your information is available without the NSA. Ever looked at zillow, etc. They can tell who owns a home, how much was paid, etc. all based on public sales records in every county.

The criminals are the ruthless business owners who have stolen our time. We can never get it back.

FunTimeSportSharks: Posted: January 17, 2014 7:53 a.m.

Our unlisted phone number has been on a "no call" list for years and we still get calls. We have noticed the latest trend for this VoIP calls is that the numbers that shows up on our caller ID are disconnected numbers. The latest number showing up on our caller ID is a disconnected number from Canyon Country. Unfortunately, AT&T only allows for 20 blocked numbers at a time (hoping that AT&T gives consideration to raising that number very soon). We stopped answering our phone because when we say "sorry, not interested" the caller on the other end gets verbally abusive and uses unprofessional language before we hang up. Something does need to be done about these harassing nuisances.

jackadams: Posted: January 17, 2014 8:09 a.m.

Um... three words... telephone answering machine. Problem solved. Next?

chefgirl358: Posted: January 17, 2014 9:05 a.m.

We have caller blocking where your number HAS to show up on caller ID or the call simply won't even be put through to us. Additionally we never even answer our home phone and just let the machine get it. We have nearly zero telemarketing calls anymore, maybe a couple a year at most. We are thinking of just disconnecting the home line completely. I didn't have a home phone for 6 years before I married, just a cell and it was never an issue.

cj64: Posted: January 17, 2014 9:19 a.m.

Is everyone who is getting these calls paying $80 a month to ATT for this privilege?
Are you still paying a couple of dollars each month to get your number unlisted in a phone book thats not printed anymore? --edited.

stray: Posted: January 17, 2014 10:08 a.m.

Over a year ago, we stopped answering our house phone. Those damn telemarketers won't stop! They refuse to hear "no thanks, we're not interested." Our house gets on average of 6-8 hang-up calls daily. We usually let the answering machine get the calls, but when we are expecting a very important call, we'll answer it. Sometimes, the telemarketers succeed on that particular call, then we hang up. We need our house phone for the fax machine and house alarm system otherwise I would tell AT&T to go jump off the highest mountain. Forget about the "Do Not Call Registry" because we've been on it ever since George Bush signed it into law. Things were calm for over a year after that law because of the threats of $10,000 fines for the telemarketers; but evidently Obozo quietly signed legislation into law allowing telemarketers to continue. I'm sure that he defines that as job creators which stimulate the economy!

DMeyer: Posted: January 17, 2014 7:56 p.m.

When I get a call from a telemarketer I pretend to get all excited and ask them to hold on a second while I get a notepad and a pen out so I can take notes, then I place the phone down on the counter. A minute or two later I just place the phone back on the receiver.

CaptGene: Posted: January 19, 2014 6:05 a.m.

If I'm home I have fun with them. Apparently their latest script includes some comment like "Hi Mr. X, I spoke to you last year, and you were SO nice to me when we spoke".

Well, I know that's BS right off the bat because I am never, ever nice to telemarketers. But I'll play along and act as if I remember them and say something like: "of course, I remember you, hey, did you ever figure our what was causing that rash?".

It usually goes downhill from there.

Rick54: Posted: January 20, 2014 8:43 p.m.

Now that Buck is retiring, we'll never be protected from the scammers.

tinsey: Posted: January 21, 2014 1:33 a.m.

I get these Solar-Remodeling calls everyday. Many times I go ahead and make an appointment for 6:00pm at my leisure not theirs. When the guy shows up he gets sent packing. I tell them we both get to play Reindeer Games and their call center wasted my time "illegally" so now I'm wasting your time. I have done this so many times hoping they will get the message but still get calls. How many call centers can there be? Really I have done this over thirty times.

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