FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to always verify who is calling them after a number of residents have received scam calls demanding money for outstanding warrants.
Since the beginning of June, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office has received around 100 reports of scam callers impersonating a Sheriff’s Officer who then demands money from a resident, telling them they or a member of their family has an outstanding warrant and must pay the money immediately, usually in the form of gift cards or a green dot cards.
The callers are using phone numbers registered to Frederick County and will give the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office phone number when asked for a callback number. The scammer will tell the victim that if they do not pay, a deputy or police officer will go to their residence to arrest them immediately.
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says the scam is particularly troubling due to the fact that the scammers will identify themselves using the correct name and rank of an actual Sheriff’s officer.
“Someone is called as calling residents of Frederick County, a lot of seniors, posing as a Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Senior Commander, using the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, rank of Major, the rank of Captain,” Sheriff Jenkins explained. “The caller is saying that they have a warrant for that person’s arrest or the arrest of the family and so what the caller is doing is asking the person to pay for the warrant with gift cards or green dot cards.”
Sheriff Jenkins went on to explain the Sheriff’s Office will never notify a person with an outstanding arrest warrant of their imminent arrival, despite what the scam caller describes.
“First of all, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office does not call an individual to notify them rescue. We send a deputy or deputies to that individual’s home or place of work, either in uniform or with identification and a badge with a copy of the warrant in hand and we execute the arrest right there,” Sheriff Jenkins said. “Secondly, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, or any law enforcement agency, will never ask for payment to satisfy warrants to satisfy fines or anything else, no payments, no credit cards, no types of money of any kind.”
One resident has already fallen victim to this scam, a local nurse practitioner paid almost twelve thousand dollars to the scammers. Sheriff Jenkins explained the victim originally bought $6,000 worth of gift cards to pay off the “arrest warrant” using her credit card. She was then told to buy the same amount of cards again but using cash as the previously purchased cards would take a few days to be activated. The scammers told her she would be refunded by the Treasury Department for the original $6,000 to her credit card. She then went to the Law Enforcement Center in fear that she would be arrested even after paying the scammers.
Anyone who receives one of these calls is urged to never give any information to the scammers and to write down the number that called your phone. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office or Maryland State Police should be notified immediately.
To contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, please call (301) 600-1046.