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Scammer impersonates Ventura County Sheriff's Captain

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

An imposter is posing as a Ventura County Sheriff's Office Captain in a scam aimed at stealing money from residents with fraudulent warrants.

Deputies issued a warning about the grift on Tuesday after receiving multiple reports. It allegedly starts with the fraudster claiming to be Captain Greg Gipson demanding a large sum of money for an outstanding warrant. 

The office said that criminals typically pretend to be law enforcement and threaten victims with arrest, fines or deportation if they do not pay them for some debt. Investigators said scammers also tell people that they've missed a court date, jury duty or something along those lines and that authorities issued a warrant for their arrest. 

They will typically order victims to pay off their debt or fine with credit cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency or a payment app. They may try to disguise their caller ID as a number associated with the law enforcement agency. 

VCSO said a legitimate police department, sheriff's department or federal authority would never call an individual demanding money or threaten them with arrest. 

Deputies said the best way to defend against these types of scams is to hang up. Never return a phone call to a suspicious voicemail. Finally, research before providing personal information or sending money over the phone. 

VCSO urged anyone who has been duped in a similar scam to call deputies at (805) 654-9511 to file a report. Potential victims can also submit reports online through the Federal Trade Commission or the FBI.

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