From the Arcata Police Department:

In light of recent activity, the Arcata Police Department would like to make the public aware of on-line and phone based frauds circulating in our community. Scams come in many different varieties and through various sources such as text messages, emails, on-line advertisements, direct calls or even a stranger asking to use your cell phone. They generally consist of the perpetrator offering a major prize or gift requiring minor payment and personal information, threatening prosecution for crimes if money is not received, sending an alert that one’s social security number has been compromised, offering a home for rent that is not their own, or borrowing your phone to access your money transfer applications or other private data.

In order to steal a victim’s identity, the scammer will often request the victim to fill out an application divulging personal data and to return it via email, or will simply ask the victim to relay their personal information over the phone or through a text message. No legitimate business should ever ask for personal information such as social security numbers, date of birth or bank account information to be transmitted via email or text. No legitimate law-enforcement entity will ever ask you for money in lieu of prosecution. Be cautious of rentals listed at a price point that is too good to be true, where the poster is not available to show the property, or cannot provide photos of the interior, or notes there is no reason to contact the real estate or property management agency. All of these are attempts to steal your personal data. The bottom line is, never give money or personal information to unverified sources.

If you are the victim of or suspect a local scam, please contact the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2424, or the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the fraud is occurring. Many of these crimes originate over-seas and can be difficult for local law enforcement to prosecute. International frauds can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

For additional information on current scams, you can access the Better Business Bureaus’ on-line Scam Tracker feature at