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Phone scams on the rise

Officials with the Santa Clara County Superior Court are warning of telephone scams involving callers pretending to be representatives of the court and other public agencies – including the Sheriff’s Office – so as to extract money from victims.

The crime includes various scenarios such as claims the victim is late paying a fine, is the subject of an active warrant or has failed to appear for jury duty, according to a Superior Court public notice issued late last month. There’s a threat of additional penalties or jail time unless the victim pays the caller through credit card, gift card or bank routing number. Sometimes the calls come from 1-800 numbers that spoof legitimate agencies’ numbers.

“These calls are fraudulent and have no connection to the Superior Court,” according to the notice. “Court staff will never ask for personal information such as social security numbers, credit card accounts or bank routing numbers over the phone. If you receive a phone call from someone making these claims and asking for personal or financial information, hang up immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement.”

In addition to local law enforcement, victims can file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Consumer Mediation Unit at (408) 792-2880.

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