Simi Valley Resident Stops Scam That Targeted Senior Citizen

The Simi Valley Police Department would like to advise the community of a computer scam that may be targeting senior citizens. 

On January 19, 2017, Community Liaison Officers responded to a report of a possible scam in progress at a Target store in Simi Valley. During the investigation, the officers learned that Simi Valley resident, Patty Buehler-Hatfield, watched as an elderly man was in the process of purchasing a large amount of Apple iTunes gift cards at a store register. When Mrs. Buehler-Hatfield asked who the lucky recipients of the gift cards were, the man indicated that he was in trouble and that he had to purchase the cards in order to get out of trouble. Based on what the man told Patty, she suspected that the man was a victim of a scam and immediately called the police department.

Because of Patty’s willingness to help a person in need, the officers were able to determine that the elderly victim had received phone calls from individuals claiming to be from the IRS and the police department telling him that he owed money and that if he did not get them gift cards he would be arrested. The suspects also directed the victim to not tell anyone about what he was being asked to do or he would be in additional trouble. In the end, the victim had already purchased $1,700 worth of gift cards and because of Patty’s willingness to help, she prevented him from purchasing $500 more.

The police department is grateful for and has already thanked Patty Buehler-Hatfield for her willingness to call the police department and assist a citizen who otherwise may have been further victimized.

The police department would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that if you receive a telephone call saying that they are the “Internal Revenue Service” (IRS) or police department and tell you that you owe money to them, the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request payments. If you are told that an “IRS Payment” must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit/gift card or wire transfer or you will be arrested, deported out of the country or that your business or driver’s license will be suspended, please contact the police department and report it.

For additional crime prevention information please call the Simi Valley Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist, Jean-Marie Maroshek at (805)583-6276.

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