Scammers, who often pose on the phone as law enforcement officials, are threatening registrants with arrest and demanding immediate payment of sums up to $3,000 in order to avoid jail or prison. There are reports of this occurring during the past week in at least two different cities in Los Angeles County — Upland and Lawndale. According to the reports, the scammers have told registrants that they either failed to register or registered improperly. For example, two registrants were told this week that they are required to register on a quarterly basis although there is no such requirement in CA law.
“If you receive a call that demands immediate payment for a failure to register, be on the alert,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The source of such a demand is likely to be a scammer. Real law enforcement officials do not demand payment in any amount for a real failure to register.”
After falsely notifying a registrant that he has failed to register, the people posing as law enforcement officials attempt to keep the registrant on the phone until he purchases several gift cards in lieu of cash. Registrants are then told to drive to the parking lot of a nearby police or sheriff’s station where the gift cards are demanded. In all reported cases, the police or sheriff’s station to which the registrant has driven is closed for business.
If a registrant asks the scammer for a phone number, they are told to call 800-561-0389 or another number.
“The best way to stop a scam is to hang up the phone and not answer the next phone call,” stated Bellucci. “If you give money, gift cards or anything else to a scammer, you will only encourage them to prey on other innocent families.”
It is also reported that phone calls from an attorney who demands that calls to registrants cease and desist immediately have been effective.