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San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is warning people of a phone scam that started last evening (January 13, 2011) in the Country Club area of rural San Luis Obispo. A person called the California Highway Patrol dispatch center to report an aggressive phone solicitation for donations for "Amber Alert". The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) does not do phone solicitation for their Amber Alert program. Persons should not donate to any person calling on behalf of the Amber Alert program soliciting funds or donations. This has been validated by both the NCMEC Regional So. Cal office and headquarters Washington, DC. Persons wanting to facilitate the goals and objectives of the Amber Alert program should seek guidance from



On July 13, 2010, at about 4:00 pm, a Latin Lotto Scam was attempted in Santa Maria, California.

The victim was an elderly Hispanic woman who was approached in a residential area by a female suspect asking if she knew where a church was located because she needed to get papers to become a legal citizen.  The suspect showed the victim an envelope containing $3,000 cash and a Lottery ticket, stating she won the lottery but was not a U.S. citizen.  At this time, a man parked a white 4-door Ford vehicle on the street and walked toward the two women.  The male suspect stopped and called out to the victim as “Aunt Angelica” (unknown if this was a coincidence since the victims name is in fact Angelica) and gave her a hug.  The male suspect then convinced the victim to enter the vehicle, pushing her in at one point, as the victim was hesitant.  The male suspect then drove the vehicle with female suspect located in the back seat and the victim in the passenger seat.  While driving around the victim was holding the lottery ticket while the male suspect called the “lottery” to verify they had won.  The suspects then attempted to drive the victim to her house to get money or items.  At one point, the male suspect reached over the victim and grabbed a note pad out of the glove compartment asking the victim to write down her account numbers.  The victim began getting nervous and once the vehicle was stopped at a stop sign, the victim exited the vehicle and ran from the suspects.  They searched for her for a short time and then she never saw them again.  They did not get any money from the victim.


Hispanic adult female, about 30 years old, 5 feet tall, 130 lbs, light brown skin with blotches and brown eyes, with long black hair pulled back in a ponytail with a bandana, Spanish speaking, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Hispanic adult male, about 55 years old, 5’8” to 5’10” tall, 225 lbs, light brown skin and green eyes, with short, curly light brown hair.  Spanish speaking, wearing nicer clothing than the female suspect, brown pants and white polo shirt, and wearing a distinct gold wedding ring.   


 White Ford 4-door sedan, type unknown, larger than a Ford Focus.

If you have any information regarding this incident or these suspects, you are urged to contact the Santa Maria Police Department at (805) 928-3781 extension 288, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 549 STOP (549-7867).  You can also text your tip to Crime Stoppers by texting "SLOTIPS plus your message" to CRIMES (274637) or submit your tip through this website.




San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Detectives are again warning people across the County to be aware of various lottery style scams being perpetrated by off shore criminal enterprises.  Detectives are working on a recent case involving a 79 year old Cayucos woman who was bilked out of over $20,000.

The scams take various forms.  One of the most common is saying you have won a lottery and you must pay the tax ahead of receipt of the winnings, or a bank account number and password is needed to directly deposit the winnings in your account.  In this particular case, an unwitting third party actually picked up the money and sent the funds off shore.

Persons who are solicited for funds to claim lottery winnings, inheritance, etc. are urged to contact their local law enforcement agency and DO NOT send funds or provide information to the soliciting party.




The Pismo Beach Police Department would like to remind citizens to be alert for scams when using online websites to sell items.


In a recent case, a local man advertised an old television for sale on Craigslist.  A subject from out of state contacted the seller and agreed to buy the television.  The alleged buyer sent two checks for over a thousand dollars more than the agreed on price with a note asking the seller to cash the checks, keep the selling price,  and then forward the remainder of the money to another person via Western Union. 


The seller deposited the checks and withdrew the extra cash from his account to send via Western Union.  The checks were later discovered by the bank to be fraudulent checks.  The bank was obviously unable to credit the money back to the seller's account.  The seller ended up losing over seventeen hundred dollars.  In most cases, the buyer is from out of the state or out of the country and is very hard to identify.


A COMMON SCAM of con artists is to send a check via mail for more than the agreed upon amount, asking the victim to keep the amount agreed on and send the remainder of the money via Western Union back or to another person.  The checks are usually fraudulent and the account does not exist.


TIP FOR CITIZENS:  Local banks advise sellers to call the bank listed on the check itself to verify an actual open account and that there are funds available to cover the check.  Any citizen may call and ask such information.  Sellers may also deposit the check with their local bank, but place a hold on the check until it actually clears before sending the money on.  Always try to verify before sending.