Both the Contra Costa County and Fresno County Sheriff’s Offices are reporting a recent uptick in complaints about bogus phone calls being made to residents in an effort to collect fines or fees for warrants and/or missed jury duty.
“Some of these callers will use a name of a deputy or sergeant that they’ve found on the department’s Facebook page, and they will sound very convincing,” said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. “Sheriff’s departments don’t operate this way. They aren’t going to ask for prepaid money cards to clear a warrant. Hang up on these callers and alert your local law enforcement department.”
In the Contra Costa County incidents, the caller tells the residents that there are warrants for their arrest because they missed jury duty. The caller directed the residents to pay $4,000 clear the warrants.
The suspect attempts to make this appear legitimate by giving names of employees, addresses of some of law enforcement offices, and fake case or warrant numbers. Don't fall for it.
In Fresno County, the suspect identifies himself as a sergeant with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. The scammer claims the citizen has failed to report for jury duty so a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The fake deputy tells his target they must pay a certain amount of money in fines to avoid being arrested and taken to jail. In order to pay the fines, the person needs to call a local number that the scammer gives them.
Once the number is dialed, the caller reaches a recording stating they have reached the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Processing and Civil Services Division. It goes on to say the only payment accepted is cash and their payment must be made through an electronic kiosk located at the department. The recording prompts the person to wait for a deputy to come on the line. However, no one ever answers so they are told to leave a message and a deputy will call them back. This phone line is not associated with the real Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Below is an audio file of the recording people get when they call the number they are given by the fake deputy.