La Jolla Light Crime and Public-Safety News: Sept. 26


BBB: Seniors falling for fewer scams

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that senior consumers have the lowest risk of being scammed, according to the 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report. However, this does not mean this demographic is not targeted by scammers. While data shows susceptibility declines with age, older scam victims reported higher monetary losses. This is most likely due to different types of scams aimed at this group, as well as their access to greater financial resources.

The following scams target seniors over other age groups (including one that reached a La Jollan in recent weeks). In these scams, con artists take advantage of seniors’ strong ties with their family, other social groups, religious organizations and charities. They also prey on seniors who feel isolated. In the case of romance scams, they target older people who have lost spouses and are looking for companionship.

Grandparent scams: This trick begins with a phone call from someone posing as a grandchild, niece or nephew. Scammers research victims using social media and often know family names, travel plans and other details. The phony grandchild will claim to be out of town and in an emergency situation — anything from a car accident to a wrongful arrest. They will urge the grandparent to send money, usually via wire, and not tell mom or dad. This scam targeted a Village resident in late August.

Investment cons: These prey on longstanding group connections, such as a religious organization or an ethnic group, where members trust each other. Con artists are masters of persuasion.

Romance scams: Fraudsters create compelling backstories, prey on lonely people looking for companionship, and will often take months to develop the relationship before ever asking for money. The emotional harm can be even more painful than any monetary loss.

Medicare/Healthcare scams: With every new change — such as the recent issuance of new Medicare cards that no longer contain the holder’s Social Security number or the enrollment in various add-on plans — scammers place a call or send an e-mail attempting to steal money and personal information from Medicare users.

Tips to avoid a scam

Get another perspective: The cons work because the target feels ashamed (or pressured) and keeps the scam a secret. If elderly people have been targeted by something that seems suspicious, they should not feel embarrassed to seek an outside opinion from friends or family.

Research: If something seems strange (a new “friend” asking for money or an out-of-the blue emergency) search for it online. Scammers often reuse images or stories.

Resist the urge to act immediately: Con artists almost always pressure potential victims into acting before they have time to think it over.

Be wary of anything seemingly too good to be true.

— Learn more about these scams and others at

Tree branch falls at La Jolla Elementary School

No one was hurt on the La Jolla Elementary School campus, 1111 Marine St., when a eucalyptus tree branch fell at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 and was removed. The school’s landscaper was on site at the time, and principal Stephanie Hasselbrink said the landscape supervisor would come to the site to further assess the older trees situation.

Police Blotter

Aug. 31

Fraud, 2200 block Via Pedera, noon

Sept. 5

Vehicle break-in, 5200 block La Jolla Mesa Drive, 11 p.m.

Sept. 12

Vehicle break-in, 6600 block Aranda Ave. 7:30 a.m.

Sept. 14

Vehicle break-in, Avenida Cortez at Camino de la Costa, 2:30 p.m.

Open container in park, 5000 block Ocean Blvd. 3:10, 5:02 and 5:06 p.m.

Minor in possession of alcohol, 5000 block Ocean Blvd. 5 p.m.

Open container in park, 5200 block Ocean Blvd. 5:20 p.m.

Sept. 15

Felony theft from building, 900 block Pearl St. 6 p.m.

Threaten with intent to terrorize, a known suspect pushed the victim to the ground, kicked her in the back and threatened to cut her as the suspect displayed a knife, suspect is not in custody, 500 block Marine St. 9:49 p.m.

Sept. 16

Stolen vehicle, 300 block San Colla St. 7:15 a.m.

Shoplifting, 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 11:52 a.m.

Sept. 17

Vehicle break-in, 8900 block Gilman Drive, 2:36 a.m.

Vehicle break-in, 2400 block Torrey Pines Road, 3:50 a.m.

Tamper with vehicle, 700 block Nautilus St. 7:45 a.m.

Vehicle break-in, 8900 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 5 p.m.

Vehicle break-in, 9700 block La Jolla Farms Road, 7 p.m.

Vehicle break-in, 800 block Tourmaline St. 10 p.m.

Sept. 20

Petty theft (pocket picking), 1200 block Coast Blvd. 7 p.m.

Sept. 21

Drunk in public, 2800 block Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, 2:48 a.m.

Sept. 22

Drunk in public, 8000 block Girard Ave. 9:53 a.m.

Exhibit firearm, 2800 block Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, 9:24 p.m.

Compiled from police and other local reports