Pleasanton police urge community to be aware of phone scams

Local grandma describes run-in with scammer claiming granddaughter needed bail money in Mexico

Pleasanton police encouraged residents to be aware of phone scams that typically ask someone to send money to help a loved one get out of jail.

Such scams are not new, said Officer Archie Chu, and Pleasanton seniors often get targeted for calls where the scammer claims the resident's grandchild is in trouble.

Common scams include the caller saying a grandchild is in jail in Mexico, and the caller will ensure their freedom if the resident sends thousands of dollars on prepaid money cards.

Other phone scams include callers claiming grandchildren or family members have been detained by immigration officials or scammers claiming they are from the IRS or another government agency and saying the resident or a family member has a warrant out against them but the caller will "make it go away" if the resident sends money, he said.

"It's basically some kind of threat," Chu said.

Pleasanton resident Yvonne Cevello said she and her husband recently got a call from a scammer who claimed her granddaughter was in jail in Mexico after a car accident.

The scammer put a woman on the phone for a few minutes who said "Hi grandpa" and said she had been in Mexico for a wedding. They were then asked by the scammer to send $2,000 via a money gram.

Cevello and her husband quickly realized it was a scam and contacted the authorities, but they want other residents to know how tricky the callers sounded. She said the scammers used her granddaughter's name, even though Cevello hadn't revealed the name to the callers.

"I know of so many people that fall for it," she said. "The elderly absolutely do."

"Grandma usually says 'Eric, is that you?' Then they say, 'Oh yes, it's Eric.' It always involves grandma and money grams," Cevello said.

Other scams include a caller saying they have a winning lottery ticket but can't cash it because they are a felon or an illegal alien, Chu said.

Often, the scammers ask for a prepaid debit or credit card to be sent, which makes it difficult to trace. Before that was a common tactic, scammers would ask for money to be sent via Western Union.

Chu said such scams are common nationwide, not just specific to Pleasanton.

In other police news

* A Pleasanton home was burglarized last week after someone sawed a door in half to get inside.

The incident occurred in the 8000 block of Rockford Place, with the culprit or culprits sawing horizontally through the front door and kicking in the bottom half, according to Pleasanton police.

A neighbor saw at least one person run from the house and get into a black BMW around 11:58 a.m. on Aug. 21, police stated.

About $2,200 in electronics was reported stolen, including two iPads, three laptops and an iTouch, police stated.

No one was home at the time of the burglary, and no arrests had been made as of Monday.

* About $20,000 in jewelry was stolen from a Pleasanton home during a burglary on Aug. 22.

The burglar entered the home around 9 p.m. on the 9200 block of Klemetson Drive, ransacked the master bedroom and stole about $20,000 in jade jewelry, according to police.

The burglar then tried to open another bedroom door, but a resident of the home heard the burglar and called out to them before he could see who it was, thinking they were another member of the household, police stated.

The burglar then ran from the house, and the resident who was home didn't see them, police stated.

An antique jade jewelry set with a necklace, earrings and bracelet were reported missing, police stated. No arrests had been made as of Monday.

* Police are investigating after a group of teenagers egged cars in a west Pleasanton neighborhood.

A group of teenagers allegedly threw eggs at four cars near the 8200 block of Regency Drive around 3 p.m. on Aug. 16, police stated. The eggs stayed on one vehicle throughout the day in 100-degree temperatures, according to police.

Residential security cameras captured the incident, according to police, who said they are looking into the vandalism, and no arrests have been made.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 30, 2015 at 12:49 am

With so many burglaries and break ins in the community why have there been no arrests made? Police have given warnings but more needs to be done for everyone to feel safe!

Like this comment
Posted by samuel
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

You may never feel safe in the US again. It's not possible to catch all criminals.

1 person likes this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 31, 2015 at 8:15 am parents fell for the Mexican Jail scam...I couldn't believe it. $8,000 out the door! They were so embarrassed after the fact that they didnt want to report it for looking so foolish.

6 people like this
Posted by Victor
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:17 am

Two years ago somebody got a hold of my e mail contact list, sent e mail to all on it, said I was kidnapped in Ukraine and to send money, people called me, I said I was O.K. and said to tell them to go to Hell.
On telemarketers? I have become rude, I just hank up.
Have you noticed your caller I.D., now many of them say private caller, or just a moment please while I check my computer for the correct pronunciation of your name.
Screw them, I just hang up.

2 people like this
Posted by dog lover
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:59 am

My Aunt in NJ fell for the Grandchild scam and ended up loosing 10,000 dollars.
Really,she felt so bad becasue she kept sending 2,000 at a time. They kept calling back with different needs for the money and she kept sending it.

I nearly fell for this one myself. They said they were the IRS. They had such a strong Indian accent but I still thought it was the IRS. I learned later the IRS never calls at home. Remember that.They always contact through the mail.

Also neighbors, please stop leaving things on your car seats in the open. Crooks are breaking into cars and taking your stuff. Its only takes a moment to break a window.

Like this comment
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm

A big scam these days seems to be someone calling you and saying that they have remotely detected viruses on your computer and offering their assistance to remove the viruses for free. I've gotten at least three of those calls within the past year. They usually want to direct you to go to their website where your computer will be infected with their virus.

As for "kidnapping" scam emails, years ago I received an email from a European Professor of physics who was an acquaintance who said that he had run into problems in a foreign country and needed assistance. The first thought is naturally to offer assistance, but then I was puzzled by the fact that he would be contacting me, a not particularly close acquaintance, for assistance on an important matter like this, and also started becoming suspicious of the fact that his email was so short and curt with no personal details about either himself or me. There was no evidence that the person who was emailing was who he claimed to be, or that he knew who I was. I concluded that my acquaintance's email account had probably been somehow hacked, and that a scammer was masquerading as him. I waited for a follow-up email from the person but none ever came.

Like this comment
Posted by Mikey
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 5, 2015 at 9:37 am

I seem to notice that a majority of calls that we receive on our land line have cities listed as the caller ID. Everyday, Denver, Columbus, Chicago, Indianapolis, Seattle and the list goes on. The other hint other from the obvious "800" area code or "blocked" numbers are calls that list "Cell Phone" as the caller ID. I don't know any people with the name Cell Phone or Seattle so I usually lift the receiver after the first ring and place it right back on the phone not even wasting a breath to say hello. Why say hello? You know it's not going to be anyone you know. The only reason I have a land line is because Comcast has us by the gonads with their bundled service package anyway or I would give it up in a heartbeat. Bottom line, if I don't see a name of someone I know, they get hung up on or can talk to my voicemail.

Like this comment
Posted by get a brain!
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:11 am

How can anyone be so incredibly stupid that they fall for these scams? Who would ever send money to someone because of a phone call about a "grandchild" they have not even heard from in years? Yeah, let's just give that guy on the phone access to our computers because he was nice enough to call us and tell us our computers were "infected". And that nice person calling from the IRS, with the Calcutta accent, well surely he is right when he says we need to mail money this very day to settle a tax debt.

Get a life people! Put Nomorobo on your phone and stop all robocalls. If the caller ID is not a person you know just don't answer it. Call any one of the credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on your account -- it will prevent ANY credit card offers for at least three years. Never open an email from someone you cannot identify and if you get an email with a hot link in it -- no matter who it is from -- NEVER click on the link.

Stop acting like a lamb being led to slaughter -- people are victims so often because they are just too stupid to think. I have never heard of one single scam that did not stink of fraud, it is just amazing that ANYONE would fall for this stuff.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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