FRESNO COUNTY - The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office wants to make the public aware of an ongoing scam. We are continuously receiving multiple reports of a person making random phone calls to citizens where he identifies himself as a deputy with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office or officer with the Fresno Police Department. The incoming number on the citizen’s caller ID may even say Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, but it is not one of our official phone lines. The caller actually spoofs the ID in order to entice the citizen to take the phone call.
In these documented cases, the scammer claims the citizen has failed to report for jury duty so a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The fake deputy / officer tells his target they must pay a certain amount of money in fines to avoid being arrested and taken to jail. In order to pay the fines, the person needs to call a local number that the scammer gives them.
Once the number is dialed, the caller reaches a recording stating they have reached the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Processing and Civil Services Division. It goes on to say the only payment accepted is cash and their payment must be made through an electronic kiosk located at the department. The recording prompts the person to wait for a deputy to come on the line. However, no one ever picks up so they are told to leave a message and a deputy will call them back. This phone line is not associated with the real Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
We have also received reports of the scam artist directing a person to purchase gift cards and read them the security codes on the card, which allows the suspect access to the money. Some of the more popular gift cards requested are Vanilla Visa and Green Dot MoneyPak. Requests are usually made for hundreds of dollars.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office wants to make it clear to the public that it never makes solicitations for money or asks for the payment of fines over the phone.
These scams are scare tactics that tend to come in waves and often target elderly citizens in particular. It’s important for everyone to stay aware of this trend and have a discussion with family and friends to educate and identify these fraudulent attempts. If you receive a similar call, do not give in to the caller’s demands and do not give them any of your personal information. Please document any information, such as the caller’s name or phone number and report it to the law enforcement agency overseeing your jurisdiction. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office accommodates online reporting for this type of matter. Please visit www.fresnosheriff.org and click on “Report a Crime” located at the top of the page. You should select “Harassing Phone Call” to make your report.
You may also make a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.