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Local Mothers Claim Man has been Using Cell Phone Scam to Get Their Money

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Women have been taking to social media claiming a scammer has been targeting them at local parking lots and trying to take their money.

FOX40 is not showing the face of the man the women say conned them because he has not been arrested.

Busy with her children, Jacquelyn Davis isn't into confrontation most days of the week -- but this was a different day.

“I can only imagine if something happened like that to my daughters, I'd be doing the same thing. I'd go knock on your door, 'You're not going to do that,’” Davis said.

FOX40 followed Davis on her determined march to knock on the door of the man she says fooled her Monday with a scam that's been lighting up social media with complaints among mothers.

They say a man on foot has been rushing into the paths of their cars while they're backing up, pretending he was so scared he would be hit he dropped his phone. The women say the man then pressured them to pay the roughly $300 deductible on his phone insurance.

When she couldn't give him that much in her local Save Mart parking lot Monday, Davis said the man took $120.

“I don't have a whole lot of money to give, and so it was kind of frustrating,” Davis explained. “But at the same time, I wanted to do the right thing."

Later, scrolling through Facebook, Davis saw posts from other mothers from West Sacramento to Elk Grove complaining about the same experience.

One mother was in Roseville in the Macy's parking garage at the Westfield Galleria when she says the man scammed her. She did not want to be identified.

“And he was like, ‘No, no, no, you didn't hit me. I'm OK, but my phone.’ And kind of, like, held his phone up to me and that felt a little weird,” she said. “He was like, ‘Well, I'd really hate for you to have to go to the Apple store and buy me a new iPhone.’ And I was like, ‘OK, you know what?’ I said, ‘Why don't we call the police?’"

Some reported the encounters to police but none of those instances were cited as crimes because no money was exchanged.

Through images posted by other moms who believed they had been scammed, Davis tracked down the man she thinks took her $120 to ask for it back.

In the end, the man she recognized also told her someone was impersonating him and that someone had stolen his identification card.

Though he talked to Davis face to face, the suspected scammer would only talk to FOX40 through a partially-raised garage door. He shared the same story, denying his involvement and saying he "lost his ID several months ago."

That explanation was not good enough Davis.

“I’ll be knocking on his door every single day that I don't have money in my hand," she said.

Save Mart would not show Davis their surveillance video from Monday. Roseville’s Westfield Galleria has confirmed to FOX40 it does have video of what appears to be a staged incident there but they will not release that video.

Even though Davis did hand over cash as part of all this, she says deputies told her it's an elaborate scheme to beg for money, not exactly a crime, and there was nothing they could do.

The California Department of Insurance frequently hears about a multitude of scams, but a spokesman said this one had not hit their radar until FOX40 inquired about it.

They said that many of the women who claimed to have been scammed did exactly the right thing and reported the situation to their insurance companies right away, even though police reports couldn't be filed and no money had been exchanged.

“We have 300 enforcement detectives and investigators, sworn officers, who investigate all kinds of insurance fraud. So, if there's an issue here, we want to hear about it,” said Michael Soller with the California Department of Insurance.

To help the department hear about this or any other fraud issue just call their hotline at 1-800-927-HELP (4357).

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