A phone scam targeting victims in Santa Barbara is also hitting other parts of the country.
The scammers pretend to be law enforcement officers.
They make the victims believe there is a warrant out for their arrest because they did not attend jury duty or pay a traffic ticket.
Then, they tell the victims to wire them money or buy a pre-paid credit card to take care of the problem.
Law enforcement agencies across the state are reporting victims.
Sergeant Marty Rose of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office says he’s fielding more calls than normal from victims of this phone scam.
Rose says the scammers are difficult to trace and prosecute.
One reason is they are using a tool called spoofing, where the number they are calling from appears to actually be from the Sheriff’s Office or from wherever they want the number to appear it’s from.
The scammers also change their phone numbers often.
“Anybody with ten dollars and an internet access point can get a phone number and start making phone calls using the internet,” Rose said.
Those numbers usually go back into an internet service provider proxy that protects the source.
The Sheriff’s Office says the only way to put these scammers out of business is to stop giving them money.
“If you ever have a question call law enforcement. Don’t send money. It’s a scam. If you don’t know who you are sending money to, you are probably never going to see that money again,” Rose said.