Con artists targeting local residents with disturbing images and false cartel allegations, according to sheriff’s office | Lost Coast Outpost

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office recently received reports of a disturbing phone scam targeting local residents.

As part of this scam, the scammer can call or text the victim claiming that they are a member of a cartel. The scammer then threatens to kill the victim’s relatives if they don’t immediately send the scammer thousands of dollars. The scammer also reportedly sent disturbing graphic images to victims trying to convince them to send money.

If you receive these fraudulent calls or texts, do not send money, but notify local law enforcement.

Remember these tips to protect yourself against fraud:

1. Spot the impostors

Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, such as a government official, family member, charity, or company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, whether it’s a text message, phone call, or email.

2. Do some research online

Type the name of a business or product into your favorite search engine with words like “review”, “complaint” or “scam”. Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, such as “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.

3. Don’t believe your caller ID

The technology makes it easy for scammers to forge caller ID information, so the name and number you see isn’t always real. If someone calls to ask for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller is telling the truth, call back a number you know is genuine.

4. Talk to someone

Before giving up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Scammers want you to make decisions quickly. They might even threaten you. Slow down, find out the story, search online, consult an expert, or just tell a friend.

5. Don’t trust personal information

In the digital age, access to information is easier than ever. Scammers are often able to get their hands on very personal information, providing it to their victims to make their scam look more legitimate. Don’t trust a scammer who can provide your personal information. If you’ve followed the tips above and you’re still not sure, call back a public number from the organization the scammer claims to be from or contact your loved one directly.

Sign up for Federal Trade Commission scam alerts at

Visit to learn how to report scams.

Visit to learn more about some of the common scams reported to the HCSO.

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