Sheriff issues fraud alerts to Madera County citizens

Sheriff John Anderson is issuing fraud alerts concerning two scams that continue to prey on Madera County citizens. In one case, a senior citizen lost nearly $5,000.00

First Scam — If you receive a call on your cell phone displaying a series of numbers, sometimes 10 zeroes (0000000000), or a strange combination of numbers, do not answer.

The calls are coming from someone phishing for your personal information – namely everything that is stored on your phone, including credit card numbers and banking information.

To get rid of these unwanted calls, simply touch the “settings” icon on your phone; scroll down until you reach Phone, touch that, and it opens into a new page where you will see three items under Calls: Respond with Text, Blocked, and TTY. Touch the Blocked key and you can add unwanted numbers to it.

You can also block the call you just received by touching the “i” key to the far left of the caller’s information that appears in your recent calls list. That will open a page about the caller. Scroll down to the bottom of your screen and click on “block this number.”

Second Scam — Callers are again masquerading as debt collectors contacting consumers via cell phone and land line.The so-called debt collectors claim to represent any number of companies, including financial institutions, advising you that you either owe back taxes, interest, or additional monies in regards to something you purchased. The caller will then advise you to purchase a Green Dot to resolve the issue. In one case the victim did just that. He purchased a Green Dot card for $4,800 and gave the suspect the Green Dot number.

It wasn’t until after the transaction was complete did he realize he’d been had.

If you receive a call similar to this, Sheriff Anderson says hang up.