No, your local law enforcement agencies are not contacting you over the phone to get you to pay off your outstanding warrants with pre-paid gift cards.
According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, a number of reports have come in recently alerting them to a new scam in which residents are contacted and told that unbeknownst to them they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest, and that the matter can be cleared up by purchasing gift cards and sending the information to the official over the phone.
To complicate matters, the scammers are using technology that makes their phone number appear like it is in fact coming from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office – forcing the agency to notify the public that they are not, nor have they ever, been accepting gift cards to clear up legal issues over the phone.
And it’s not the only scam currently taking place that has drawn local law enforcement in, either.
On Monday the Manteca Police Department notified the public that they have been receiving calls from concerned citizens after they had been contacted by both phone and email from people claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service or other government entities. Much like the scam reported by the sheriff’s office, these callers claim that the potential victim has an outstanding legal liability with the government agency they are claiming to represent, and the matter can be cleared up by purchasing gift cards and either sharing the relevant information allowing for their use over the phone or sent via email.
In both instances, law enforcement encourages people not to share any relevant personal information with the callers over the phone, or to send any money regardless of how official the call may seem – neither the IRS nor local law enforcement entities demand payment over the phone, and neither require any required payments to be made using prepaid, untraceable gift cards.
Those who feel they have been targeted by a potential scammer, or possibly victimized after falling for one of these scams, are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency with relevant information and details about the call. A complaint can also be filed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov – which allows the agency to track where these calls originate from, map out patterns, and alert the public about new threats as they arise.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.