The Santa Cruz Police Department is investigating a fake letter that was sent to several Latinos in the community. The letter says police have files on them. The police chief is concerned about the ripple effects of this scam.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills says the letter was sent to people via email, from a Gmail account. It’s on letterhead with fake Santa Cruz Police logos and a Department of State emblem. The letter is written in Spanish and English and says the victim is under investigation.
“Apparently the goal is to cause intimidation or someone to live in fear,” Mills said while looking at the letter on his cellphone.
People are also receiving fake phone calls. According to Santa Cruz Police, the scammer says they’re with the police department and then demands the victim pay money, or get arrested. The caller ID comes up as Santa Cruz Police’s non-emergency line; that’s 831-471-1131. Police says an app that can spoof or alter numbers was used.
“My concern is that it's going to cause people in the migrant community in particular to, you know, go underground. And then we don't know what's taking place in terms of crimes against them,” Mills said.
Mills says a couple victims of this scam have contacted police about it. He says that’s the right thing to do.
“Please get ahold of us and let us have the opportunity to at least vet this out and make sure that they’re protected. And if they're undocumented persons, we will not do enforcement on that and they're safe with us,” said Mills.
Mills says whenever someone calls and asks you to send money, you should be suspicious.