Scammers are at it again, this time pretending to be “Sheriff’s deputies” and threatening to arrest doctors, physician assistants, and nurses for missing a court date. So how do you spot this scam?
The scam begins with a phone call from someone who says they’re a Sheriff’s deputy. He’ll say you missed a court date where you were supposed to give expert testimony. His tone is urgent, and he says you’ll be arrested unless you pay a fine — in cash or gift cards.
In a twist, the caller says you have to pay the judge in person at the courthouse, by handing over those gift cards. The caller insists you stay on the phone with him while you go load money onto the gift cards. He may even threaten to arrest you if you hang up. Once you get the cards, but before you get to the courthouse, the caller (who’s still on the phone) says the judge can’t see you, after all. But, he says, you can pay the fine right away by giving him the numbers on the back of the cards.
That’s all a scam, and that scammer who called may use the name of a real officer or fake the caller ID to make their story more convincing. But the real officer isn’t calling. It’s a scammer who’s after your money. To spot the scam, know this:
- Real law enforcement officers will never call to say you’re going to be arrested (or threaten to arrest you if you hang up).
- Real law enforcement officers will never demand that you pay fines by phone.
- Only scammers will call, text, or email demanding that you pay by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app, or a wire transfer service. The government will never do that. So: Stop. Don’t pay.
If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Thanks to our partners at Cuyahoga County Scam Squad for alerting us to this scam.