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News in Brief: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Hawthorne

Police Warn Public of Credit Card Scam

June 20, 1998

Police have cautioned residents to watch out for a con artist who has been impersonating major credit card company officials over the phone.

Saying that information from the company's main computer has been tampered with, the caller asks residents to provide credit card numbers, credit limits and balances to update their crashed computer system, said Lt. James McInerny of the Hawthorne Police Department.

"That's definitely a scam, and the impact is going to be felt in a month when the people who fell for it see their statements come in."

McInerny said fraud and theft of identity are "the crime of the year."

"The main thing is never give out your credit card, Social Security or any personal information over the phone. The only time a person should give out their credit card number is if they initiate the call," he said.

Police said they are concerned that the elderly will fall prey to the caller.

"They're especially vulnerable to telemarketing scams and frauds," McInerny said. "They're constantly victimized."

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