SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz Police Department on Tuesday warned residents to beware of a scam in which callers purporting to be police officers threaten arrest unless the victim pays money.
In the scams, the Caller ID listed on the victim’s phone was that of the Santa Cruz Police dispatch center non-emergency line number of (831) 471-1131. This number was falsified using app-based technology to “spoof” or alter the Caller ID, said SCPD spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke.
The scammer tells the individual the police department has a warrant for their arrest and if they do not pay them, utilizing a variety of payment options, Santa Cruz Police will come to arrest them for their “crimes.”
According to Blaschke, scammers are also sending emails from a Gmail account with a fake violation letter using SCPD logos.
Santa Cruz Police officers do not call asking for money instead of arresting suspects wanted on a warrant.
Calls from any law enforcement agency requesting money to remove charges or a warrant are a scam, Blaschke said.
Calls with demands to send money are likely scams. Everyone should be extremely cautious about providing financial information over the phone.
“Neither the Santa Cruz Police Department nor any other city agency will call you to demand payment and threaten arrest for any matter,” Blaschke said.
In addition, fees related to warrants and citations are handled directly through the court.
Anyone who receives a similar call is advised to do the following:
• Do not call back, and hang up if you are talking to them.
• Call the police department directly from a verified phone number when in doubt of a solicitation.
• Contact the Santa Cruz County Court directly to inquire about any outstanding warrant, bail or fine payment.