Sheriff's office warns about scam calls

The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office is again warning the public to be aware of and not fall for scams that claim to be from the sheriff's office and demand payment.

"We continue to receive multiple daily reports of people falling victim to rampant 'jury duty' and 'warrant' phone scams," the sheriff's office reported in a statement.

With these fraudulent calls, scammers claim to be someone from the sheriff's office, using the name of an actual employee, demanding payment for outstanding arrest warrants, failing to appear in court, or failing to appear for jury duty. They often have spoofed voicemail boxes with a greeting from the purported sheriff's office employee, using the employee's name or title.

"We've even seen them produce fake warrants as an email or message attachment," the sheriff's office noted. "These 'documents' are obviously fake with misused language, incorrect court and judge names, and fake county and other court logos."

One of the clearest giveaways that the calls are from scammers is that they demand suspicious payment arrangements such as mailing cash, bank wires, cryptocurrency (i.e., Bitcoin), prepaid gift cards, etc.

"This is not how we do business," the sheriff's office said. "We will never call you to verify your personal identifying or financial information, demand payment for anything over the phone, serve court paperwork (unless it's a courtesy call trying to arrange to meet in person for civil paperwork), or threaten you with an arrest warrant for failing to pay us money or appear in court or for jury duty."

The sheriff's office wants the public to be aware that these are fraudulent scam calls.

"It is common now for these sophisticated criminal enterprises to use fake or spoofed phone numbers (or names) to appear legitimate," the statement explained. "Never volunteer personal or financial details over the phone. Never send money to people you don't know using prepaid cards, money orders, wire transfers, or peer-to-peer payment services (i.e., PayPal or Venmo). When in doubt, hang up and independently verify the call's legitimacy."

Those who fall victim to one of these scams should file a police report with local law enforcement. Those who are targeted by a scam but don't fall victim to it can report the details (along with the phone number used) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/.

 

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