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CaliforniaGeneral News

CA: Scammers Target Los Angeles Registrants, Families [UPDATED 9/2019]

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2019: THIS SCAM IS STILL ACTIVE. PLEASE READ BELOW.

Aug 4, 2018: 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.

Join the discussion

  1. wonderin

    And the scammers got their phone number How?

    • AnotherAnon

      A guess. Maybe they find the name on the registry website and then go to a phone lookup by name and address. This would be easier if the address is listed on the gov website because it would narrow the search terms.

      If they try to extort me and we meet in person, it would be tempting to make certain it is not a happy ending for them.

    • Tim Moore

      Or jurisdiction databases could be sold to the scammers.

      • C

        Basic information like phones numbers is available for free from about 100 different websites. Why buy it?

        • http404

          I got one of these calls several months ago and did share here about it. They called me on a landline at the office, and a man with a slightly Southern accent identified himself as a Ventura County sheriff’s commander. They do their homework for the con as I quickly called up my browser and there was a real commander using that name. He said I need to stay on the line while I go to pay my bail fine so I told him I’m on a landline and asked if he could call me on my cell and I would stay on the landline until I pick up. I then gave him the phone number of my local police department as my cell. After a few seconds, apparently calling it, he quickly hung up.

    • Tim l

      @wondering

      Robo-dialing yet another onerous iteration of the database.

      Entire YouTube channels are devoted to giving these jerks their comeuppance
      One such channel is named hoaxhotel.
      A must see for those interested in scammers and social justice.The
      One group of phone scammers operate out of San Diego. The guy wiped their system32 files while he’s letting them “,fix” his virtual machine.The

      Cathartic to watch.

  2. Anonymous

    I would NOT fall for any of it but my wife on the other hand, would be an absolute scared, nervous wreck. She very well may send money.

  3. Scam-99R

    Yet another reason that the registry does nothing but hurt. If registrants aren’t harassed, injured, and/or murdered by vigilantes — then registrants are subject to being singled-out by these types of scams.

  4. Nicholas Maietta

    How are they getting people’s phone numbers? It’s not on the public website. That question needs to be answered in detail.

    • Eric Knight

      Two ways. First, cross-checking name and address with google searches, hoping they get lucky and get a hit that way. Second, more sinisterly, information leaking out of the registration office.

  5. Gralphr

    All these clowns have to do is look on the registry, then put your information in zaba search. There, they could track down additional information, like a phone number in order to conduct these scams……

  6. TS

    All,

    Check voter registration online info for phone numbers after checking online RC database.

    RC database won’t publicly publish phone numbers, but voter registration is public info and may have the phone number listed. Two databases to give a more complete picture of the person.

    Some states only have a phone number publishing opt-out option when registering to vote (if the RC can vote) instead of an opt-in. They’re sly about it too and won’t tell you.

    This is probably one way so many folks are targeted for different scams.

  7. Will Allen

    I think you ought to call police and make them show up and arrest the people. Is it still not a serious crime to impersonate law enforcement? Make the criminal regimes that run the hit lists deal with their problems.

    • Http404

      Doesn’t do any good. I had someone try this and came up with a way to get him to unwittingly call my local police. He quickly hung up, and I immediately told the dispatcher the hang up call they just got was a guy pulling this ruse. I was told there is nothing they can (will) do because, since I didn’t suffer any loss it wasn’t really a crime they can investigate.

      • General Bean

        By that logic, anyone caught in a victim-less sex offense or any other sting should walk Scott free as no one (apart from the tax payers) suffered any loss.

    • Sean James

      The police don’t want to help us! Don’t you remember that situation about that RC who was in imminent danger of being killed by vigilantes…the cops laughed at him while he begged them to send some officers to save him?! That aRC was killed by the vigilantes…a couple of years ago I called the police because some gangsters were chasing me, openly carrying guns…but when the police arrived and I told them what was going on…they did nothing. I told the cops that if they didn’t give me a ride out of the area I would attack an innocent bystander ( I was homelees at the time.)…so they drove me out of the area…but only because I threatened to harm an innocent bystander.

  8. ab

    I am one of the targets of this scam and unfortunately the scammer tried reaching me through my employer. The scammer left a message along the lines of wanting to speak with me about registration before I went in to work. No details were provided beyond that other than a name of the person, the 800 number above, and an extension to reach the person at.

  9. Greg

    Let them call me and demand payment, I will gladly give it to them if they meet me in person and can take it from me.

  10. David

    Forgive my digression, but it reminds me of an incident in my long ago past. I was at a gay bar with my then-boyfriend, a slender-framed fellow. As we were leaving the bar, he was walking a few feet ahead of me in the parking lot while I was lighting a cigarette. A pick-up truck full of wannabe gay-bashers screeched into the parking lot. A couple of them jumped out and headed right towards my guy, assuming he was an easy target. They were clearly surprised when I ran up and said, “‘How ’bout you start with me first!?” I guess that was problematic for them, since I had been a competitive bodybuilder! Before they could react to my suggestion, about 30 young, very angry guys rushed out of the bar and into the parking lot. Well, confronted with these turned tables, the would-be bashers jumped back in their pick-up and sped off…… as the guys in the parking lot dared them to come back anytime.
    My point is this: I don’t think these scammers realize they are targeting a group of very angry individuals who are already very pissed about the way they are mistreated. Not a good idea to try to harrass or scam them.

  11. Eric Knight

    QUICK QUESTION: If a registrant gets a call from a scammer, and can successfully tell the guy to call back later, what is the best way to set up that scammer for a sting?

    • j

      I would check with the local PD, then refer the scammer to call the main station and talk to the watch commander. Granted these scammers are read for anything and will call back impersonating the watch commander with a spoofed number matching the local PD. It makes me sick thinking there is hardly a way to fight these sickos and the anxiety they knowingly unleash this terror on registrants and their families.

      When they get caught, the PD might reach out for information but it is another gotcha because they know registrants probably, won’t come forward. Shameful.

      You might want to call the local public defender to see if they are interested but know they might not even dare.

    • Sean James

      Don’t you get it?! The cops do not care about us!!! If we are going to defend ourselves from everything from scammers to vigilantes then we must do it ourselves. I have long said that we need to create an organization ( some might call us a gang) and fight back..tooth and nail! It’s the only way

  12. Tim L

    See scammers get their just due.
    Youtube: Hoaxhotel and enjoy.

    • Warren

      They called my wife 3 times while I was out of the house and she was a mess as they said they have a arrest warrant on me due to a problem with my registration paperwork. When I came home, they called again (on my wife’s phone) and I spoke to them. They wanted money for a bail bond needed so they can fix problem.

      I smelled a scam right away. 1) They called my wife’s cell phone but did not know my number (I asked them to call me on my cell phone). 2) They said they were from the Orange County Sheriff Department (I live in Orange County but report to the City I live in, not to OC Sheriff). 3) The phone # showed they were calling from Riverside County! 4)They wanted $$ for Bail Bond and would arrest me tonight if not paid. Scam…

      I hung up and blocked the phone # on my wife’s phone. Thought I’d share this as the scammers are still very active in Southern California.

      • AW

        I had the same person call me, same scam. This was about a year and a half ago. The area code was not 562, which is where the actual PD would have been calling from the but some Riverside County number. They still had me going for a second, but when I asked them to call me on my cell (which actual registration always did before, never called on landline), and they didn’t have it, I knew it was a scam.

      • Janice Bellucci

        @Warren – You made the best move by hanging up on the scammers. If you stay on the phone, you are giving them an opportunity to emotionally hook you into giving them money. I have received phone calls from registrants and their family members about this, some of whom are in full blown panic. Remember, YOU are in control and the best way to assert your control is to HANG UP. Also a good idea to block their number if you can.

      • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

        They always “spoof” a phone number that appears in your caller I.D. They choose numbers that are in or nearby your area code. They can be located anywhere in or outside of the U.S.

        I’ve gotten three of these, so far. The last one I told him that I was looking forward to putting them in jail for impersonating public officials and extortion and fraud. That got him off of the line right quick.

    • General Bean

      If they’re still breathing they didn’t get they’re just due.

  13. Sunny

    As a police officer once told me, “If we’re considering arresting someone, we’re sure as hell not going to call them and give them a heads up about it.”

  14. General Bean

    I got one of these calls last year and, thankfully, I’d heard of the scam and turned it around on the scum bag. His explanation of what PD he was associated with was so full of holes. He clearly had zero familiarity with LA (probably never been out of his flyover state) that he finally caved and hung up on himself in frustration.
    That was actually fun. Sadly, however, my elderly father got a scammer call and HE called me in a panic that I’d better go down to the police station before they arrest me, yada yada. My dad has moderate to advanced dimentia and can barely remember to put on pants, but he sure remembered every bit of this call out of concern for his son.
    On a lighter note, I sure do love to call these assholes back from a spoofed number and royally F with them.

  15. Anonymous

    If you have a smartphone, get the Hiya app, or something similar that has basic caller ID and automatic private number blocking.

    Screen every call from an unknown number. If they want to scam you, they can leave a message, which means their crime is recorded.

  16. G4Change

    These are probably the same morons who are doing similar scams about being in trouble with the IRS, etc. My guess is they are in a foreign country, and good luck catching them.

    I agree with Janice. Hang up, and ignore their calls. In fact, block that number on your phones if you can. Get another call from a different number, then block that number too.

  17. Chris f

    I dealt with a phone scammer by taking away the only thing of value I could from him. His time. I was on a 6 hour drive when I got the call, so I kept him going by pretending to follow his instructions. I pretended to be stuck in traffic, delayed by an out of service ATM, and giving him praise for being so patient with me. When I couldnt delay any longer, I thanked him for keeping me entertained on my drive and told him I knew about the scam from the beginning. After he yelled a few cuss words that caused me to laugh, he hung up. I didnt even have to block the fake number because he never called back. That was about 90 minutes that he wasn’t able to scam anyone else.

    • General Bean

      This is great. If you have the number, please share so we can all call this douche and waste more of his time
      Let’s tell him there is a warrant for HIS arrest, but a $1000 Amazon gift card can make it all go away.

      • Chris f

        Unfortunatley, the number that shows on caller id is almost always fake for scammers, or disposable.

        I would love nothing more than to identify them and return their kindness.

  18. Nicholas Maietta

    The company who operates the number in question is Grasshopper Group, LLC. They are a VOIP service provider. I have reached out to them to report the abuse to get this scam shut down.

  19. Steve

    I was just scammed out of thousands of dollars by people posing as Department of Investigations working with US Marshalls. The Scammers new all the right things to say, they even had police radios for back ground noise and pretended to call for me to be picked up. It all seemed so very real. Why are we as Sex Offenders on this unconstitutional registry not being informed of this scam? I did some research and found out this scam is happening in several states. We are really not having any of our rights protected and our right to privacy, which seems to be none, is violated to our detriment. The bank also will not protect me for the money I was coerced under duress to hand over.

  20. Eric Knight

    How about REQUIRING California registration officers to warn ALL registrants about the scams, and to provide SPECIFIC guidelines in how the registration office contacts the registrant? This way scams will be reduced greatly, though sadly not completely. But it should give everyone the heads-up; the feeling of dread is still the same whether it comes in multiple B&W’s lights flashing and guns brandished, or by an alarming phone call from out of the blue.

  21. jo

    I emailed about this 2-3 months ago, reported that this happened to me. They got me good; calling from the right number, saying all the right things. They told me that I failed to show up for an appointment to take a new DNA sample and it automatically resulted in an arrest warrant. Same MO as the others, stay on the line, send some money blah blah blah. What got me was that this was just weeks after I moved into a new country so I honestly thought it was something I needed to do and didn’t know about so I got suckered.

    • General Bean

      Did you actually send them money?

      Doh!

    • Steve

      I can really emphasize with you as I was the one most recently scammed. They somehow new I had just returned from vacation and re-registered because I was out of state. They had a police style radio complete with a female dispatcher which they called when I initially was uncooperative. They new the layout of my town, and directed me to various stores to buy the gift cards. There were 3 different men playing various rolls. I did not want to believe them but they were very good at playing their roles and seems to know a lot about me.

      • General Bean

        Ugh, my heart goes out to you, bud. It really does.

        I’d follow up with the Sherrif’s Dept. and let them know you might have been a victim of the guy they caught. According to the article, there’s still a female accomplice (the “dispatcher?”) at large. How good would it feel to testify against these scum bags that target the most vulnerable? Damn good!

  22. Mot

    Unless we forget the LEO are the biggest scammers of RSO; I was a victim of a Sheriff department STING and was charge with 664-288(a) . That is why the PD does not care about the scams against us; those are their “relatives” doing to us what the PD did in many cases

  23. General Bean

    The guy that tried to scam me had a distinct southern accent. I sure as shit hope he’s the one they busted today!!!

    https://ktla.com/2019/09/16/georgia-couple-posed-as-l-a-county-deputies-to-scam-victims-out-of-16k-in-gift-cards-sheriff/amp/

  24. mk

    My hub and I both had phone calls like this. My hub called me one afternoon while he was at work saying he’d gotten a phone call on his cell number. Right away I knew it was bs. A few days later I got one too at the house. I ripped the person on the other end a new one. Yelled at him, your full of *&*&%^%@! stop calling us, and get a life jerk, and hung up. lol. I felt better and they didnt call back. We reported all of this to both the local sheriff’s dept, and the city police (each call said they were from different agencies)

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