Long Beach police warn residents about phone scammer

Man identifying himself as LBPD officer threatens to arrest victims unless they pay ‘fines’


Long Beach police say that a scam artist claiming to be a lieutenant with the Long Beach Police Department recently contacted at least three elderly residents and threatened to arrest them unless they paid a bogus fine.

LBPD spokesman Lt. Eric Cregeen said that a man who identified himself as a Lt. Harris called the residents and told them he had warrants for their arrests and demanded they pay him an undisclosed amount to avoid arrest. However, Cregeen said that there is no Lt. Harris on the force, and explained that police are investigating the incidents and advising residents to be aware of the scam.

“If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a ‘Lt. Harris’ who is requesting that you send him money to pay fines and avoid arrests, please do not respond,” the city said in a statement on its website. “This is a scam. There is no Lt. Harris, and the LBPD would never ask you to send them money.

Cregeen said that police received three complaints from local elderly residents regarding the scam.

“We received three complaints from elderly people concerning a phone scam, and the complainants stated that a man with a southern accent called and stated that he is a lieutenant with the LBPD, and has arrest warrants for these people concerning them missing jury duty,” Cregeen said. “He requests money in order to pay a fine. We are currently investigating these three reports. The Long Beach Police Department comes across many similar scams involving people who say they are from the IRS or requesting bail money for grandkids who are in trouble.”

Cregeen advised anyone who is solicited, or those with concerns regarding such suspicious activity, to contact the LBPD at (516) 431-1800.