Sheriff's investigators say Michael Cross, 51, randomly called elderly people and convinced them he was their nephew or grandson and desperately needed money to get out of trouble.
He would then arrange to meet them at an ATM or restaurant parking lot and pose as that relative's friend to get the money.
Cross is accused of targeting people in Menifee, Perris, Beaumont and Cabazon.
He was arrested and booked on seven counts of extortion, 11 counts of attempted extortion and seven counts of elder abuse.
Investigators believe there are several more victims who are unaware they were conned by Cross. If you have any information about this scam or if you are a victim, you're urged to contact the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Perris Station.