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Telephone cons resurface in Tri-Valley

Grandparent scam, IRS scam both on rise, officials say

Danville Police are warning area residents to be on the lookout for criminals carrying out the grandparent scam.

Police Chief Steve Simpkins said the scam has two versions.

In one, a resident will get a phone call from a person claiming to be a family member who is currently being held in custody in a foreign country and needs money to be bailed out.

The second version is a caller who claims to be a government official requesting bail money for an incarcerated loved one.

In both scams, the victim is instructed to wire money or purchase money orders to help the relative post bail. Simpkins said victims have been fleeced out of significant sums through these scams. This crime has occurred in the San Ramon Valley, as recently as this week.

"Any resident who is approached in this manner is encouraged to contact the Danville Police Department before taking any action. We understand the concern that can be caused by hearing a loved one is in trouble," Simpkins said. "Let us check it out and verify the situation is legitimate before sending any money."

For more information, contact Danville police Sgt. Jason Haynes at 314-3703 or jhaynes@danville.ca.gov.

Meanwhile, reports of the IRS scam are popping up in the Tri-Valley. In that scam, someone claiming to be from the IRS will call, saying the resident owes a large sum of money to the IRS.

The victim is told to purchase Green Dot or similar re-loadable cards, and to provide the information to the con artist. Once the card number and PIN are given out, money on the card can be picked up as cash or transferred to other accounts.

The IRS says this type of scam tends to rise around tax season.

"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement.

Scammers threaten arrest if the victims did not make a payment using an untraceable, pre-loaded debit card with an access number, police said.

"If somebody unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling," Werfel said.

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