“If (victims) heard this from law enforcement one time, that that particular scenario is a scam, they wouldn’t have fallen for it.” The Santa Clarita station’s number of credit-card fraud and identity-theft cases increased from 284 in 2003 to 691 in 2005, Anderson said. In a recent case of fraud, an 89-year-old Santa Clarita Valley resident was contacted earlier this month and told he had won $1.5million from the fictitious Global National Lottery Sweepstakes, Anderson said. The catch was the “winner” was told to send $22,000 in supposed taxes, which he did, Anderson said. The money is now gone. Investigators say that in another common scam, a con artist will buy something from the victim with a worthless check or money order. The victim will receive a note for more than the cost of the item being sold. Claiming to have sent too much money by mistake, the con artist will ask the victim to wire over the difference in cash. That happened to one 63-year-old Santa Clarita resident, who on March20 advertised a couch for sale, sheriff’s Lt. Brenda Cambra said. The victim received a cashier’s check for $2,350, but the couch was selling for $500. The victim agreed to send $1,800 to a Canadian bank account and keep $50 for his troubles. On April 2, a bank notified the victim the cashier’s check was counterfeit, Cambra said. “Some people don’t fall for it, but a lot of people do because they think they’re entering into a business deal with somebody.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – A nearly new Hummer H3 offered online for a bargain price of $20,000, and all the seller wanted was a money transfer to a foreign bank. While not everyone would fall for the scam, investigators say that earlier this month a Santa Clarita resident did take the bait, and now the money is all but unrecoverable. For a Sheriff’s Department fraud team, the episode is another reminder of the need to educate the public about scams. Motivated by a rising number of identity-theft cases, authorities since October have given talks to local groups on avoiding fraud. “We’ve noticed that a lot of times the scams are pretty obvious,” said Sgt. James Anderson of the Santa Clarita station.