There is a nationwide scheme whereby some insurance “veteran advocate agents” call and fraudulently induce elderly residents of retirement homes and assisted living facilities to attend educational lunch or dinner meetings and convince the attendees to reposition their assets. This ultimately causes the elderly direct financial harm when the “mark” is induced to trade in their savings and put them into annuities that are often inappropriate for their age and circumstances.

Workers in India “Boiler Room” call centers, pose as federal/state agents who threaten the victims with a scripted message. I too received one of these calls where my phone register showed a call from the Riverside Sheriffs and they said they were on their way to arrest me for not paying taxes. I nervously called my friend Stan Sniff, the Sheriff of Riverside County, who assured me it was part of an elaborate scam.

The scheme has a scripted caller saying they were IRS or Immigration authorities calling re an outstanding (fictitious) fine, immigration warrant or a phony tax debt. India call centers use personal information, illegally obtained, to scare the victim. US coconspirators launder the money using wire transfer and debit cards.

They prey upon the elderly and immigrants… in other words our neighbors. The victims are told to go to Walmart, for instance, and buy debit cards loaded with a few thousand dollars and instructed to read the card number to the caller.


An 85 year old woman was threatened with arrest if she did not pay a phony outstanding tax bill. The scammers would often ask for a “good faith” payment to stop their imminent arrest. When I got the call I was told a patrol car was on its way to arrest me. As an attorney I should have known better but I too was scared that I had unknowingly done something wrong.

A common scheme involves a caller who claims to be a member of law enforcement, or an employee of the court system. The victim is told s/he has a warrant for failing to appear for jury duty. The caller demands payment for the warrant via credit card information, or a Green Dot card. The scammer keeps the victim on the phone while he or she travels to a store to obtain the requested card.

The caller instructs the victim not to tell anyone with whom they are talking. After obtaining the serial number of the debit card the money deposited is immediately removed by the caller.

No Court or Sheriff’s Department employee will ever contact the public and ask for financial information or payment in lieu of attending court proceedings, or to make up for failure to appear for jury duty. US Government Agencies do not make these kinds of calls. Instead you would receive a letter/notice in the mail if that was the case. However with the holidays approaching these phone/fraud scams will certainly go up.

The caller may offer to retrieve money for scammed seniors promising they can recover 60 percent of the money lost to victims of timeshare resale or precious metal investments. The caller may pose as a Social Security employee from a 323 area code and tell victim they are due a 1.7% cost of living adjustment increase in their SS benefits. They then ask the victim to verify all of their personal info in order to receive the increase. Once they get this info they use it to change victims direct deposit, phone and address.

Another phone scam is a call from or about a grandchild in trouble. They will ask for cash because they were just arrested on vacation in another country or they had just been in an auto accident.

Numerous fraud schemes involving mortgage assistance, outstanding tax collection, foreign government assistance and even companies promising to return lost money are rampant. The scammers always request money to be paid up front for illegitimate services, or the threat of arrest, eviction or property seizure.

Report FRAUD and potential ID thefts:

The Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online via

Fraud alert hotline: 855-303-9470 or

Charitable Donation Cons/Telemarketing/Mail/Internet Fraud: State Attorney General’s Office

Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 877 ID Theft/>”><_tmp_url_0_>;

Social Security hotline 800-269-0271/

Equifax: 800-525-6285/<>

Experian: 888-397-3742/<>

Transunion: 800-680-7289/<>

Keep the above numbers and information in a safe place just in case!

Questions? contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or


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