Sheriff’s office warns of arrest warrant scam

Scam alert
Scam alert(MGN / Pixabay)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 3:51 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says it’s receiving a lot of complaints about an arrest warrant scam.

Officials say the scammers identify themselves as a member of local law enforcement, even using the names of real detectives, and demand payment in the form of gift cards to avoid being arrested on a warrant.

The sheriff’s office doesn’t want you to fall for this.

“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will never call you to inform you about a warrant and demand payment of any kind. If you have a real warrant, we won’t call you on the phone; we will knock on your door. And we certainly don’t demand money, gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency,” officials said in a news release.

Sgt. Ben Timerman echoes those sentiments.

“Obviously, law enforcement does not ever contact you by phone and demand some form of payment. If we have a warrant for you, we are not going to demand payment from you. We’re going to knock on your door and demand you come with us,” said Timerman.

The sheriff’s office offers a few ways to spot scammers in the act:

• Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers manipulate caller ID to look like the call is coming from an official government number. Look up the agency’s number yourself, if you’re concerned, and give them a call. But don’t use the number in caller ID.

• Government agencies won’t call, text, or email you out of the blue to demand payment right away.

• Nobody legit will ever tell you to pay with gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency.

• Never share personal information with anyone who contacts you. If you’re worried, look up the government agency’s information yourself to check with them.

The sheriff’s office described some of the typical ways con artists work:

• The scammer says you’ve won a sweepstakes or lottery but you must send money to collect.

• The scammer says your assets are frozen until you pay a fake debt, fine, or lien.

• The scammer says he’ll help you recover money you already lost in a scam.

• The scammer says she’s collecting back taxes or immigration fees.

• The scammer threatens to fine you, put you in prison, or take your property unless you pay.

• The scammer says they’re protecting you from being scammed.

• The scammer tells you to take money out of your bank account, tells you to wire money, get a gift card, or buy cryptocurrency.

• The scammer demands secrecy, tells you to act right away, and says you’re about to lose money.

The sheriff’s office says if a scammer contacts you, your report can help stop them. Go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Share as much information as you can, including:

• The date and time of the call

• The person and agency name the scammer used

• What they wanted you to do, pay, or share, including amounts

• The phone number that showed up on your caller ID. Even a fake number can help law enforcement track the scammer.