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Arrest Threats Are Always Scams

If you get a call, text or email telling you that you’re about to be arrested, it’s a scam.

Scammers may pose as law enforcement – FBI, county sheriff’s deputies or local police – to scare victims into paying a fine to avoid a bogus arrest.

Real law officers NEVER tell people they are on the way to arrest them. And they never tell people that they can avoid arrest by making a payment.

Arrest scams can be scary. Scammers often spoof caller IDs to say things like “Sheriff” or “FBI.” Some scammers have used the name of real sheriff’s deputies to trick Cuyahoga County residents into believing arrest threats.

Scammers use other tricks, too. For example, the return numbers they give you may be answered with a voicemail recording that says you’ve reached. Scammers can create elaborate stories about why you’re a suspect.

Arrest threats are typically woven into other scams, like Social Security scams or court scams. For example, scammers may say you’re about to be arrested or have your accounts seized because:

Do not respond to calls, texts or emails that threaten you with arrest or legal action.

Do not call phone numbers provided by potential scammers. (If you’re really worried, you can contact the law enforcement agency named using a number you verify is legitimate.)

Report arrest scams to Scam Squad by calling 216-443-SCAM (7226).


The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.