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Sheriff’s Office warns of increase in identity theft scams in Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says there is an uptick in a common scam that has victims receiving a letter or an email indicating the sender has obtained personal and private information and then extorting money from the victim to keep the information safe.

The Sheriff’s Office says they have seen this type of scam targeted to individuals who have high profile careers or have recently been mentioned in the news or internet posts. The Sheriff’s Office says the correspondence is well-written, convincing, and it provides details on how to transfer funds via “bitcoin” or “pre-paid” credit cards.

The Sheriff’s Office says if you receive a correspondence like the one described, contact law enforcement right away. The Sheriff’s Office says you should never give out personal or financial information to anyone you are not completely sure is legitimate.

To report scams, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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