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Scam Alert: County Sheriff Impostor Calls
Jeane’ Holley, (216) 698-2544; firstname.lastname@example.org
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – Cuyahoga County’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Sheriff’s Department are renewing warnings about “county impostor” scams in which someone posing as a sheriff’s deputy or court official attempts to scare county residents into paying bogus fines with gift cards or reloadable payment cards such as Money Pack.
In earlier versions of the scam, impostors called county residents to threaten them with arrest for allegedly failing to show for jury duty. The Sheriff’s Department received calls this week that indicate scammers may be targeting people who have been defendants in the criminal justice system.
The threatening scam calls can sound real, and in recent cases, impostors have used the names of real deputies. Some scam targets were told to go to the Justice Center, but all victims known to have lost money were eventually directed to give scammers card numbers over the phone.
The Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs and the Sheriff warn residents to be alert to these signs of a scam:
- Phone calls threatening citizens with arrest or jail. Deputies do not call people to warn them they are about to be arrested.
- Directions to pay court fines or fees with Green Dot Money Packs or similar reloadable cards, gift cards (such as Home Depot, iTunes or Amazon) or money wires (such as Money Gram or Western Union). Government agencies do not accept any of these forms of payment.
Residents can report this, or any scam, to the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad at 216-443-7226. Victims who lost money to a deputy impostor scam should contact the Sheriff’s Department at 216-443-6000.
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.