Tag Archives: phone scams


A Morongo Basin resident recently received a robocall from someone claiming to be from Amazon reporting a suspicious $3,000 charge on their account. The robocall directed them to a fake customer service number in an attempt to attain the resident’s personal information. Fortunately, the resident did not fall for the scam. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has tips on how you too can avoid becoming a victim of these types of scams…

More and more people are receiving robocalls from scammers posing as online shopping sites falsely reporting suspicious account activity or seeking account verification information, such as names, passwords, and credit card numbers. The scam is designed to panic the victim into providing the personal information. If you receive a call like this, do not follow the prompts or dial the numbers provided and do not provide any personal information. Hang up and either call the company directly or log into your account directly. If you think you have been a victim of these scams, call the sheriff’s department at 760-366-4175.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warning of scammers using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits to impersonate healthcare professionals and collect money or personal information from unsuspecting Americans hoping to get their hands on a COVID-19 vaccine. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has tips on how to spot the scam…

Scammers are offering fraudulent COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and other healthcare-related benefits in exchange for personal information. Remember; healthcare professionals will never ask for money to enhance your ranking for vaccine eligibility, Government and State officials will never collect personal information regarding the vaccine over the phone, and you will not be solicited door to door to receive the vaccine. Do not respond to text messages or open email links about COVID-19 from unknown sources and if you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. For more information on staying safe, visit https://oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus/fraud-alert-covid19.asp


Recently, some Morongo Basin residents were called by people pretending to be employees of Southern California Edison. The callers said the residents had outstanding bills, and demanded the customers make payments with prepaid cards over the telephone. Hilary Sloane offers these tips on how to avoid being a victim of these types of scams…

Imposters claiming to be from SoCal Edison are calling businesses and residents and telling them their electric bills are overdue. The caller demands immediate payment through a prepaid cash or debit card to avoid having their electricity disconnected. The scammers then collect the value deposited on the card. A Southern California Edison spokeswoman said SCE employees will never ask for payment over the phone or in person at a customer’s business or residence, nor does SoCal Edison accept PayPal payments. Customers should never give out personal information over the telephone. Do not call back the number given to you; use the phone number on your electric bill. Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department, and business phone number; and then they should call SCE at 800-655-4555 to report the incident. For more ways customers can stay safe, see the safety tips at www.sce.com.


Unfortunately, fraud reports have spiked due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and scammers exploiting the crisis to find new ways to cash in at the expense of residents. Hilary Sloane offers these examples from the Federal Trade Commission of common frauds and tips on how to recognize them to avoid being scammed…

Learn how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Legitimate tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information. Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.

Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to COVID-19 test kits and vaccines to work-at-home schemes.

Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.


It’s Cyber Monday, when people start their online holiday shopping in earnest. And with the spending season comes an upswing in identity theft. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers the following tips on how to reduce your risk of identity theft due to online shopping…

To reduce the possibility of identity theft, use just one credit card for online purchases, and make it one that has a low limit. Rotate and change your passwords on all online accounts monthly or more often. Monitor your credit and debit card activity on a daily basis, paying attention to balance amounts. Enroll in a credit-monitoring service, but understand, that loopholes still allow your identify to be cloned without you even noticing. And most important, never give out personal information over the phone or via e-mail, including any and all unsolicited phone calls or e-mail offers. Protect yourself this holiday season, and don’t let the cyber thieves steal your hard-earned money.