Crime Prevention

Fraud Prevention


July 18, 2024

6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Zion City Church
Flowing Wells Campus

Learn more by clicking the image of the flyer or the button below.


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The Federal Trade Commission has logged data related to consumer fraud for years. In the last five years, a seismic shift has occurred nationally- the number of fraud cases has dropped drastically, yet the losses have started to skyrocket. It’s clear that scammers have gotten more efficient, taking more money with much less effort.

Scammers are creating sophisticated scams that enable them to siphon an increasing amount of money from those in our community. Victims increasingly include individuals of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds who believe this could never happen to them.

While our Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit works diligently to hold these scammers accountable, oftentimes the perpetrators of these scams are outside our county, state, and increasingly outside of the country. This distance makes prosecution difficult, with the result being moneys that are difficult to recover, and scammers that continue to act without regard for the residents of Pima County.

Outreach and education continues to be our strongest tools in preventing scammers from taking advantage of our community. Please use this website as a resource to learn about the latest scams and trends our investigators see in Pima County, as well as ways you can prevent these scams from taking your money.

Right now, scammers are plotting how to take money from folks in your community. They may target your neighbors, your friends, or even you…but if we work together, we can prevent this.

Outreach and education continue to be our strongest tools in preventing scammers from taking advantage of our community. Because of this, we created Global Deceptions: The Art and Impact of Scams in Pima County.

Global Deceptions is a 90-minute, multifaceted fraud prevention experience that combines real-time demonstrations, educational resources, audio and visual media, and direct discussion with fraud investigators all with the goal of furthering your fraud prevention knowledge. Presented by the Detectives assigned to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit, this presentation provides your community with direct access to the individuals who investigate scams, fraud, and other similar crimes. Learn the latest information to safeguard your friends, family, and yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Global Deceptions?

This brand-new, community-oriented program was crafted by the detectives assigned to your area with one goal in mind: to provide first-hand scam prevention knowledge to communities just like yours.

What is the experience like?

The entirety of the Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit will provide a 90-minute fully immersive presentation that encourages audience participation through live demonstrations and Q&A. The content has been curated so that it is digestible for folks of diverse backgrounds, in an easy-to-understand manner.

How long does it take?

The presentation itself is normally around 90 minutes, followed by a question and answer session at the end where detectives can directly address anything fraud-related brought up by the audience.

What types of topics do you discuss?

The presentation will cover the latest local and national data on scams, the types of scams we see in Pima County, and information on how to prevent scams, among other fraud-related topics.

Is the cost really zero?

Yes, it is! PCSD will provide the staff and all other equipment necessary for our team to successfully present to your group. All you’ll need to provide is a venue for us and seating for your guests. Typically, many groups utilize their community centers or meeting space to host.

How can I set this up for my community?

Simply contact the Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit using the form on this page, or by phone at (520) 351-3000 and a detective will get back to you to discuss.

Family Emergency

You receive a call from your grandchild, and they sound frantic. They tell you “I got in a car accident, and they are going to tow my car!” They are speaking really fast as they tell you “The tow truck company is going to impound my car, so I need you to help me out and send me some money right now!” They sound exactly like your grandchild, and you really want to help them.

In these scams, the caller will often ask you to keep these conversations a secret. This is done to isolate you from others who would be able to identify what is going on, people like your real grandchild!

Family emergencies unfortunately do happen, and that is what makes these types of scams so effective. Scammers are good at convincing their victims that they are who they are pretending to be. With the technology that is available today such as social media websites and call spoofing, it is easier to find and use information about your loved ones to aid them in this deception.


  • Take some time to collect your thoughts before taking any action.
  • Tell them that you will call them right back. Look up their number in your own phone or phonebook and call them. Chances are, they are not in any trouble.
  • Call another family member or family friend who would be able to get a hold of your grandchild and have them check on them.
  • You can always contact The Pima County Sheriff’s Department if you are ever
  • concerned for the safety of your loved ones.

Government Impersonator Scams

You get a call, email, or text message from someone who says they are from The Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and they claim that they have a warrant for your arrest. To fix this, they say you must pay them $5,000. They instruct you to deposit the money into a specific Bitcoin machine, at a specific location, into a specific account. The scammer keeps contact with you the entire time making the situation appear urgent. Once the transaction is completed, the scammer might tell you they found another warrant and you need to complete the process again with another $5,000.

The caller may know some of your personal information and your caller ID might even show that it is your local law enforcement agency who is calling you. But is it really the police calling?

The truth is, that law enforcement will NEVER contact you and demand money in any form as a way to avoid an arrest. Caller ID’s can be spoofed (faked) easily, so if you are not sure, contact the agency at a phone number you know to be true (not the one they called
you from).


  • Collect information about the officer (scammer), such as name, badge, and agency.
  • Do not any send cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency to a stranger.
  • Law Enforcement will never demand payment of any kind to clear an arrest warrant.
  • Resist the pressure to stay in contact with them. Hang up and give yourself time to consider the facts.
  • Locate a verified phone number for the law enforcement agency and confirm that they and the warrant are legitimate.

Investment Scams

You are contacted by a very professional sounding gentleman, who offers you the deal of a lifetime! He tells you that he is the owner of a local business in Pima County, and he is looking for investors who are interested in making some quick and easy cash. He guarantees that you will double your money with little to no risk of losing any of it. He goes on to tell you that other individuals in your area have invested, and that many of them have already received double, and in some cases, triple their initial investment! He urges and pressures you to act fast or you will miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to making any investments, and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely trying to scam you. It is important to be aware that investment scams can take on many forms. Whether it is an investment in real estate, cryptocurrency, or a new local business, there will always be some risk associated with any investment.


  • Slow down and take your time. Scammers will often try to rush you into making hasty decisions.
  • Take good notes on important details such as the name of the business and what it does, who you are speaking with, phone numbers, etc.
  • Tell them that you will call them back after you have had the time to look into their offer. Legitimate companies are usually willing to allow you some time to come to an informed decision.
  • Search the internet for any reviews on the company as well as any phone numbers and names that you were given. Note any articles or posts that mention “Complaints” or “scams” when conducting your research.
  • Talk to trusted friends or family about the offer as they might voice questions or concerns that you have not yet considered.
  • The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is a great resource to help answers any questions as well.

Lottery & Sweepstakes Scams

You get a call, text, or an email from an unknown source telling you that you have won 1.5 million dollars in lottery prizes. It may even appear to come from a legitimate lottery. You don’t remember playing the lottery, but the individual (scammer) is very convincing. The person tells you that in order to receive the lottery winnings you will need to pay the associated taxes and fees first. You are instructed to go to your bank and make a wire transfer from your bank account to another account they have given to you. They tell you to think nothing of transferring away your life savings because once you make this payment, you will be a millionaire.

These types of scams are very prevalent because everyone can use an extra 1.5 million dollars! They offer to give you a life changing amount of money as a prize, but in the end the only one giving away any money is you. Whatever the story is that they tell you, the request is always the same: wire money to pay taxes or fees. If you pay this small amount of money, then you will receive a large amount of money in return. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.


  • You will never be instructed to pay taxes for winnings from a legitimate lottery. The taxes are automatically withdrawn from the winnings prior to release.
  • Never give out your private bank account numbers over the phone, unless you are absolutely sure of the identity of the person receiving it.
  • Verify the lottery is legitimate by looking up contact information online, in the phonebook, or at their physical location and speaking with a legitimate representative of the company.
  • Never use any contact information provided by the scammer when verifying their information.
  • If you did play the lottery in which you have won, look at the lottery website to verify what numbers were drawn.
  • Call someone you trust like a family member, close friend, or law enforcement, and ask their opinion on the situation before sending any money.

Romance Scams

So, you’re chatting with someone on social media, maybe even a dating app. Things seem to be going great— They’re really sweet, saying all the right things. But there is a catch—they claim to live far away and they cannot meet you at a moments notice. They may often make plans to meet up with you, but it’s always in the future, and it never seems to happen.

Then they start asking you for money. They might say it’s for a plane ticket to finally come and meet you, or for some sudden medical emergency. There will always be something that comes in between the two of you, and whatever it is, it usually requires more money to get it resolved.

Scammers come in all shapes and sizes. They make up fake personas, steal photos, and spin elaborate tales all to get their hands on your cash. If this sounds anything like your relationship, don’t fall for it! It’s highly likely the person you think you are talking to does not exist.


  • Stop and think. Don’t give away your hard-earned money.
  • Avoid sending cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or completing wire transfers to someone you’ve met online romantically. Once it’s gone, it’s likely gone for good.
  • Spread the word. Even if you haven’t fallen for a romance scam, someone you know might be at risk, or may have already been targeted.

Tech Support Scams

Have you ever gotten a call or message from someone claiming to be a computer whiz? Or maybe a number popped up on your screen out of the blue? Perhaps you were just trying to find some tech support online and stumbled upon a phone number. The person on the line says they’re from a big company like Microsoft or Apple, and they start talking about viruses or malware lurking on your computer. They might ask for remote access or insist
that you buy some software to get things fixed. But can you really trust them? According to reports sent to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, probably not.

These tech support scammers might try to sell you things you don’t need, copy your credit card numbers, or even install malware onto your computer that could allow then to them see everything on your system, including your passwords.


  • If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming there’s an issue with your computer, hang up—it’s likely a scam.
  • If you require technical help, reach out to someone you trust and call them using a verified phone number you know to be valid.
  • The numbers displayed in search engine results aren’t always reliable. Stay safe and cautious!

Federal Agencies

Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is the nation’s central hub for reporting cybercrime. IC3 is run by the FBI, which is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber crimes. You may file a complaint with IC3 if you believe you have been the victim of an internet crime or if you want to file on behalf of another victimized person.

Social Security Administration

Criminals continue to impersonate the Social Security Administration and other government agencies in an attempt to obtain personal information or money. They may use your social security number, or SSA benefits, among other information. If you believe you have been victimized as part of a social security-related scam, you can report it to them here.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Fraud Reporting

Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit tax fraud. Your taxes can be affected if your Social Security number is used to file a fraudulent return or to claim a refund or credit. If you know or suspect that you are a victim of tax-related identity theft or fraud,  visit the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft here.

United States Postal Inspection Service

USPIS oversees fraud related to the US Mail System. If you would like to report fraud or scams related to the US Mail including sweepstakes, lotteries, online auctions, chain letters, counterfeit stamps, mail theft, and scam emails/texts, you can report them here. Forward suspicious emails and texts to, then delete the message.


State and Local Agencies

Adult Protective Services (APS)

Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS) is a program within the Department of Economic Security (DES) Division of Aging and Adult Services and is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, exploitation, and neglect of vulnerable adults. You can file a report on their website.

Department of Economic Security (DES)

Unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance benefits at the state level are overseen by AZDES. If you suspect that somebody has claimed benefits under your name, or committed fraud for other state benefits to include TANF, SNAP/Food Stamps, then contact your local authorities and submit a fraud report online with DES.


Local Non-Profit Groups

Rose Advocacy

R.O.S.E. was founded in Arizona to lead the effort in delivering effective, concise, and face-to-face fraud awareness and prevention programs to older adults (and their families) so that they will be aware of the types of scams that are prevalent and dangerous to this population and what they can do to prevent becoming a victim. Visit their website to learn more.

Green Valley Scam Squad

The Scam Squad is a group of volunteers within the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers (SAV). The SAVs are a non-profit entity that supports the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in a wide variety of areas. The goal of the Scam Squad is to educate Green Valley residents about potential scams and to provide a place for residents to report scams.

Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)

PCOA is a non-profit organization dedicated to inclusive, innovative, and integrated services to advocate for the rights and needs of older adults. PCOA provides resources and information to help those in our community make informed choices and find solutions that are right for them. Learn about money and legal services, caregiving, healthcare, and other resources for aging well.


Third-Party Tools and Resources

Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every twelve months from each credit bureau. This website is a one-stop-shop that provides a headache-free method of obtaining your credit report FREE from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).  Reviewing credit reports helps you catch signs of identity theft early.


If there is an emergency, call 911

Steps to Consider

Do not feel embarrassed, criminal activity is never your fault. Once fraud has occurred, the best solution is to act as fast as possible. These general steps should help provide the best opportunities to safeguard yourself and begin the process of stopping fraud from taking hold:

  • Gather as much information about the scam as you can. This can be emails, text messages, phone numbers, names, and anything else you have collected. Any financial information such as affected accounts, amounts, dates, where and to whom you sent money to, and how will be crucial for the investigation.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency to make a report. Local agencies are typically the quickest to respond and have legal authority to conduct investigations. For the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, contact our non-emergency line at (520) 351-4900 or visit a district office.
  • Contact your financial institution to change or close any compromised accounts This can prevent future or pending losses. File a fraud report with your bank as well.
  • If any user accounts and passwords were compromised, consider changing your passwords. Depending on the extent of the breach, you may need to delete or change accounts entirely.
  • Do not continue communicating with the scammer, no matter what they say. You will never be able to reason with them to give you your money back. They will simply use this continued communication to extract more information from you.
  • Be wary of new scams. Once scammers have taken some money, it will be a long time before they stop. The likelihood of being contacted by new scammers or their associates is extremely high after the initial scam has occurred.