In one scam, the caller identifies himself as an officer working with “Mark Rothman & Associates.” He warns victims of an imminent criminal proceeding or bench warrant for overdue loan debts, and offers an out if they make an “interim payment” of $500. In the other, a caller claiming to be SFPD accuses the victim of having unpaid parking tickets and demands payment of $154 or more on the spot, police said.
In both cases, the con artist instructs victims to purchase a pre-paid cash card and to turn over the card number, before emptying the card of its funds remotely.
The scammers are sophisticated enough that their outbound calls register as “a legitimate police department number” on caller IDs and they sometimes even use real officers’ names to identify themselves, police said.
It is SFPD policy never to contact citizens for payment of any kind, police said, and urged anyone receiving such a request by phone, email, or pre-recorded call to report it to police immediately.