Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide Division is issuing a warning to the public about a recent rash of phone scams involving student loans and the Los Angeles Police Department.
On July 1, 2015, the suspect contacted the victim and advised that he qualified for a student loan. The caller obtained the victim’s interest and then encouraged the victim to return to school. The suspect explained that the “government program” would cover 80% of the cost and the victim would be responsible for the rest. The suspect then asked the victim for the 20% upfront cost. The victim explained that he did not have the money, the suspect became confrontational and the call ended.
Two months later, the same victim was contacted by a suspect who identified himself as an LAPD Captain. The victim later returned the call and heard a recorded message “You have reached the Los Angeles Police Department, Hollywood Division. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911, to continue in Spanish, dial 9”. When the victim presses 9, the suspect answered by identifying himself as an LAPD Captain. The suspect instructed the victim to pay the “government” or a warrant would be issued for his arrest. The suspect instructed the victim to cooperate and provided him with the number of an attorney (2nd suspect) to coordinate a payment plan.
Below are crime prevention tips to avoid falling victim of this scam:
• A police officer/captain will never act as a third party to facilitate any payment plan. • Always call the police department to verify and officers/captains credentials. • When the callers are aggressive and threatening, hang up. • Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason. • Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails or calls you unsolicited. • Never wire money, provide debit, credit card, passwords or account numbers to someone you do not know.
Anyone with information or questions regarding this crime is asked to contact Robbery-Homicide Division, Detectives Tracey Benjamin or Orlando Martinez at (213) 486-6840. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.