General Crime

Petaluma Police Warn Residents About Local Phone Scams

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Scammers are continuing to target local seniors, and Petaluma police are warning residents to be wary of any suspicious phone calls.

In some scams, the victims are told they have won a contest or lottery, and are instructed to send money or pre-pay taxes, police Sgt. Andrew Urton said.

Police have issued news releases and conducted presentations and community outreach to educate senior citizens about the scams and prevent financial losses.

However, local residents are still falling victim to criminal ruses. On Tuesday, an elderly woman received a phone call from someone who claimed to be her grandson, Urton said.

The caller said he had been in a traffic accident with a Mexican diplomat, and he asked the woman to wire money to Mexico to pay for damage and for his release, Urton said.

The woman made two wire transfers totaling almost $3,000, Urton said. The victim later learned that her grandson was not in custody and had never called her.

The same scam was used on another elderly victim in January.

Police are encouraging residents to call them if they receive any suspicious phone calls, and are urging family members to educate their elderly parents or relatives on how to protect their finances.

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