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Valley Scams: You Hit My Car, Give Me Money or I'm Calling 911

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Photo by borman818 via Flickr
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Here's an interesting scam we heard via Jeff Berk of Watch2.org in Studio City. Last week, a resident of his neighborhood watch was on her way home from the grocery store and became the victim of an alleged car damage claim scam. From an e-mail to neighbors:
[She] was returning home from Ralph's on Coldwater & Ventura when she was waved over to the side of the road at Dickens and Van Noord by 2 men in a car who claimed she had hit their car at Ralph's. (They had likely followed her from Ralph's) The driver of the car exited his vehicle and approached the woman who never left her car. He pretended to call the police and told her that they would be on the scene in 45 minutes. The driver then demanded money for his vehicle's damage. At first, he first tried asking for $300 but he soon lowered this offer when she protested. She soon thereafter began to scream: "I am being ripped off; I'm being scammed." Nobody arrived to help. When the driver finally asked what cash she had on hand, she turned over all of the money she had in her purse, $23, to get rid of him.

The suspects are two white males, one around 50 years old and the other in his 40s. They were in an older black sedan.

Meanwhile in the West Valley, detectives have seen a pattern of Spanish speaking community members being scammed, some of their life savings. Suspects will engage victims walking alone and approach them, asking for financial help that will reap them benefits beyond belief.