People are getting fake SMC Alerts

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said yesterday (Dec. 3) it’s not sending out messages via the county’s SMC Alert system demanding access to people’s homes.

County residents have been receiving official looking texts and emails telling them that officers will be inspecting homes, so pets must be put in crates, and their home alarm systems ought to be shut off.

The messages also say that residents “cannot refuse the inspector access to any units during this process.”

The message also says that residents could be fined if their alarm system is on when the “inspectors” come around or if residents attempt to keep the “inspectors” from entering their home.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Detective Rosemerry Blankswade said yesterday that there have been no reports of residents falling for the scam.

So far, everyone who has contacted the sheriff about the messages was trying to figure out if it was a scam or not, Blankswade said.

“The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will never send out an SMC Alert demanding access to your home or business. Officers will only come into your home or business with a search warrant or probable cause,” Blankswade said. “Police impersonators are often looking for anyone who seems exposed or easily fooled. Call 911 if you have any doubts about who is at your door, dispatchers will know whether an officer has been sent to your home.”

Blankswade also said there are six reasons why an SMC Alert will be sent out.

The first three reasons have to do with emergencies, such as: notifying residents of an emergency shelter during a crisis, letting residents know about evacuation routes and to send out messages to first-responder volunteers.

The other three reasons are what Blankswade referred to as “precautionary warnings” — to notify residents about crimes in the area, major road closures and mountain lion sightings.

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