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Defend Yourself Against Fraud

As part of our ongoing effort to keep you informed about criminal threats to your finances, LACERA regularly publishes warnings about financial scams, identity theft, and other schemes that could hurt your pocketbook. Be sure to check this section regularly for the latest alerts, so that you can spot and defend yourself against those who seek to steal your hard-earned money or take advantage of your access to credit.

The slogan "Defend yorself against fraud" over an image of a dollar bill.

Latest Alerts from the D.A.’S Office

Don’t get scammed! Twice a month, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office releases a public service announcement (PSA) called the Friday Fraud Alert to warn the community about current financial scams (some perennial, some seasonal or tied to current events).

The PSAs include videos with District Attorney staff, and many focus on scams targeted specifically toward older adults. According to the D.A., one in five seniors has been the victim of financial fraud. The Elder Abuse section of the D.A.’s website includes a Financial Fraud page that lists the warning signs of many common scams in order to help seniors recognize cons and avoid becoming victims.

See some of the latest scams below. For the full list of Fraud Alerts, visit da.lacounty.gov/community/fraud-alerts. You can also follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday.

Fraud Alert 5-10-19: Don’t Get Scammed Out of Your Home

Beware of criminals attempting to take your home right out from under you.

In the Home Title Fraud Scam, the crooks impersonate the homeowner so they can refinance or sell the victim’s property for their own benefit.

They first obtain the homeowner’s personal information through identity theft or by stealing mail. Then, they create false documents, such as a fake driver’s license using the victim’s name and the scammer’s photo. Those false documents are used to sell the home or take out a loan against the property without the homeowner’s knowledge.

More details about how the scam works and tips to avoid getting ripped off are detailed in this 5-10-19 video from the D.A.’s Office.

Fraud Alert 3-8-19: Tax-Season Phishing Scam Seeks to Hook Personal, Financial Data

Tax season is the busy season for identity thieves. Be careful when sharing your personal and tax information — particularly online.

In the Tax-Season Phishing Scam, crooks send fake email, text, and other messages that appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The fraudsters try to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal their identities.

The email may seek information related to filing status, personal and PIN information, and other tax-related details. It also may ask the victim to click on a bogus website that appears to be an official IRS site but instead uses malware to steal personal information from the victim’s computer.

More details about how the scam works and tips to avoid getting ripped off are detailed in this 3-8-19 video from the D.A.’s Office.

Retirees: Beware of Phone Calls from Scammers

Some pension systems in California have reported that scammers have been making phone calls to their members saying they owe money to the fund. Recently, LACERA received one report of a LACERA member being targeted in this manner. These scammers employ fear tactics, telling retirees they must send money through prepaid credit cards in order to receive their pension. LACERA would like you to be aware just in case you receive a similar call.

Should this happen to you, rest assured: Even if a caller claims to be from LACERA and the caller ID appears authentic, you can be confident it’s fraudulent because LACERA will never call to ask you for money. In the case of a legitimate overpayment (or underpayment), we will mail you a letter with details pertaining to your specific situation. Please call us at 800-786-6464 if you receive any suspicious communication.

5/31/19