SAN DIEGO–It’s a startling phone call you could receive: “There’s a warrant out for your arrest.” Scammers targeting San Diego County residents hope that fear will cause them to act without thinking.
These scams are currently telling victims that a warrant for their arrest has been issued due to a failure to pay taxes or to appear for jury duty, but may entail other false threats.
The caller is very pushy and poses as an employee of the Sheriff’s Department. To make the pitch very convincing, the scammer will:
- use the name of an actual Sheriff’s Department employee
- give the actual telephone number of a Sheriff’s Station or Substation
- have some of your personal information such as a former address or your date of birth
- threaten you with jail time or taking away your driver license
- ask for more personal information
- ask to pay with a credit, debit or prepaid card
Recent cases have involved the scammers using a technique called “Caller Spoofing.” What this means is the scammer will call their intended victim and make the incoming call appear to be coming from a legitimate government agency such as the Sheriff’s Department.
Impersonating a Sheriff’s Deputy is a violation of state law., no deputy or employee of the Sheriff’s Department will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. If you get this type of call, hang up immediately.
Since 2010, the Truth in Caller ID Act has prohibited caller ID spoofing with the intent to defraud or cause harm. If you receive one of these calls, go to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website at www.fcc.gov/complaints to report the incident. If you are a victim of a scam, call the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.