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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 9:39 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º


Phone Scammers Posing as Sheriff’s Deputies Claim Residents Owe Money for Missing Jury Duty

Scammers tell people to pay $2,000 to resolve a bench warrant issued because the person never showed up for jury duty

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has received a large number of reports countywide the past several days regarding a familiar phone scam where the caller poses as a sheriff’s deputy.

This time around, the caller claims to be a Sheriff’s Lieutenant, provides a fake badge number and in some cases, just to make the story seem more legitimate, even agrees to meet the resident in person at a Sheriff’s station and lists the address.

The way this most recent scam works is after introducing himself as a Sheriff’s Lieutenant, the caller tells the citizen that there is a bench warrant issued for their arrest because they did not show up for jury duty.

The caller then offers to resolve the warrant if the citizen purchases a $2,000 pre-paid credit card and provides the card number during a subsequent call. In some cases, the caller promises to have the $2,000 or a portion of it returned by a Santa Barbara County court clerk.

If you receive a phone call of this nature, you should immediately hang up and call the Sheriff’s Office or any other law enforcement agency where the caller claims to be calling from to verify the information.

Do not be fooled by your caller identification, even if it appears that the number is coming from the Sheriff’s Office or an 805 area code. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind residents that our agency does not call residents over the phone to notify them of a warrant nor do we take any payments of any kind over the phone.

The Sheriff’s Office has seen this particular scam before, and many versions of it, that pop up time and time again. We do not want to see any of our residents become a victim of these scams and urge you to never give your personal or financial information out over the phone.

To report phone scams, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1.877.FTC.HELP or visit the website here

Kelly Hoover is public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. 


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