Telephone Scam Artist Poses as Police Official, Demands Payment From O.C. Residents: Authorities

A cellphone user is seen in a file photo.

A cellphone user is seen in a file photo.

Authorities are warning Orange County residents about a telephone scam artist who has posed as a police official and demanded payment for outstanding traffic violations.

Huntington Beach police on Saturday received several calls about the scam, in which a male caller speaks with a Southern accent and identifies himself as a member of either that city’s Police Department or the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, according to a news release.

The scammer has used two mobile phone numbers, with 714 and 949 area codes, to call multiple victims, officials said.
“When he uses the 714 number, he identifies himself as a [Huntington Beach police] officer,” the release said.

“When he uses the 949 number, he identifies himself as a lieutenant with the [Orange County Sheriff’s Department]. Both of the numbers are pre-paid phones with Verizon.”

The caller asks for the resident by name, tells them a bench warrant will be issued if the fines for their violations are not paid, then asks that the money be submitted via netSpend Reload, authorities said. NetSpend Reload is a pre-paid debit card service, according to the company’s website.

It was unknown how the scam artist obtained the victims’ names and phone numbers.

When the victims call the number provided by the scammer, they hear a recording that says they have reached the Huntington Beach Police Department or the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, officials said.

“All our lines are busy, as we have a high call volume,” the recording states. “Please leave a message.”

Authorities urged residents to share a warning that was posted on Facebook by the Huntington Beach Police Department, and to tell relatives, friends and neighbors who may not have seen the post.

Anyone who receives a call from the scam artist is asked to call the Police Department at 714-960-8825.

An investigation is ongoing.