Would this get your attention? You get a call from a deputy at the local county sheriff’s office telling you that you missed court earlier in the year and as a result, an arrest warrant has been issued for your arrest.
You bet it would. And some brilliant scam ring is spreading out across the country to scare the pants off of people.
Once the scammers have someone’s attention, they then go in for the kill, asking for payment over the phone to avoid arrest, plus setting up a meeting at the circuit court clerk’s office to square up everything.
In tracking the scam, ConsumerAffairs found active reports in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
There’s a variation on the scam, but the end game is the same. In the alternate version, Fox4 TV in Kansas City says the scammers tell potential victims to load money onto a prepaid card and pay the fine at a kiosk at the sheriff’s office. However, the victims – already a bit freaked out by the first call – get a second phone call from the scammers saying the kiosk is not working properly and that the only option is to make payment over the phone.
Police scams can cost consumers $2,700 each
While the news reports of the sheriff's office scam didn't detail how much the cyber thieves were asking for, police/FBI/police scams cost consumers a median $2,700 according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
To avoid being conned by this scam, just remember one thing: As far as ConsumerAffairs knows, sheriff’s offices don't call people out of the blue asking that they pay a fine or settle any other charge. The same goes for the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, FTC, and the FBI – in fact, no government agency will.