A “snake scam” has made its way into Roseville neighborhoods recently.
Here’s how it works: Burglars pose as animal control officers knock on your door and ask to check the property for poisonous snakes. While the homeowner is distracted, an accomplice steals items from the home.
The scam also hit six Bay Area cities including San Mateo, Burlingame and Fremont between Aug. 10-27, Patch reported.
In Roseville, two “snake scams” were reported Sept. 2, one attempted and one successful.
At about 3:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, a woman wearing a brown animal control uniform knocked on a resident's door on Chancellor Avenue, near Cirby Way, and asked if she could check the yard for poisonous snakes, according to Roseville Police.
The resident became suspicious, as he had heard about the Bay Area snake scam, and didn't let the woman into his house. He called police about 15 minutes later. Officers checked the area but weren't able to locate the suspicious person.
Later that day, between 5 and 5:40 p.m. a woman knocked on a resident's door in the area of Cirby Way and Inglis Drive, and told her she was from Roseville Animal Control, and that she needed to check the property due to an infestation of poisonous snakes, according to Roseville Police.
She asked that both the resident and her husband accompany her to the back yard, where she spent some time measuring a back yard shed. She then told the resident that someone would be back later to set traps.
Later the resident discovered items missing from her home, apparently stolen by an unseen accomplice while the residents were in the backyard with the fake "animal control officer."
The suspect was described as an Hispanic woman in her late 20s or early 30s, about 5'3" tall and a stocky build, with dark, shoulder-length hair. She wore a navy blue button-up shirt with a City of Roseville logo, and khaki pants.
A few tips from the Roseville Police Department:
- It's very unusual for city or other utility workers to make unsolicited calls on residents without advance notice, especially on a weekend or holiday. If anyone claiming to be a city or utility worker comes to your door, and you haven't requested service, be suspicious.
- Close and lock your door (or better yet, don't open your door to any stranger in the first place), and then call the city department or utility company at their published number to find out if they've sent workers to your neighborhood for any reason.
- Don't call a telephone number provided by the "worker," as call might be answered by an accomplice.
- If you have any doubt at all, call police immediately and ask for an officer to check them out.
- Give the dispatcher a good description of the "workers," including a description of their vehicle and a license number if possible.