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Sheriff warns of phony detective trying to get personal data

POSTED January 7, 2011 9:20 p.m.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is warning to be on the lookout for a man impersonating a detective with the department.

The impersonation came to light after a potential victim grew suspicious of the man’s demands and contacted the sheriff’s department directly to verify his employment, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Luke Schwartz.

“If anyone misrepresents themselves as a member of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, we encourage you to call us and let us know,” said Sheriff Adam Christianson.   

A man told the sheriff’s department he was contacted during the last week of December by a man claiming to be a detective with the department’s “Collateral Division.”

The call was placed from a 1-800 telephone number.

Schwartz said the sheriff’s department does not have a “Collateral Division,” nor does it use 1-800 numbers.

The con man said he was seeking information regarding money and property owed to an undisclosed financial firm. 

“The victim wisely took it upon himself to first verify whether or not the man was who he said he was, but the situation could have turned out differently if the victim would have met with the suspect or provided any further personal information,” Schwartz said.

To help educate the public and to ensure no one becomes a victim of this scam, the sheriff’s department has issued warning signs to look for if somebody ever calls and misrepresents themselves as a detective.

“The public should know that the sheriff’s department is not in the business of collecting debts on behalf of private businesses or companies without a proper civil process,” Schwartz said.

Sheriff’s deputies will always identify themselves, the agency with which they are employed, and if asked, will provide an identification or badge number. 

“We encourage the general public to always confirm whom they are actually speaking with by either calling the Public Safety Officer front desk at 525-7114, or by calling non-emergency dispatch at 552-2472,” Schwartz said. “Never provide personal information to anyone on the phone unless you know who you are talking to.”

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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