CONSUMER ALERT: Okaloosa County phone scam warning
Updated: Monday, March 24 2014, 08:12 PM CDT
The phone rings, and a deputy says there's a warrant for your arrest.
The calls have led to a scam alert from the Okaloosa Sheriff's Office.
The caller claims to be a lieutenant with the agency.
He tells people there's a warrant for their arrest, and they need to send money to clear it up.
Laura Hussey "Criminals have found lots of ways to bring scams into our homes. There's a lot of focus lately on email scams. Sometimes, they just break down and do it the old-fashioned way"
When the phone rings, it's someone saying he's an Okaloosa County Deputy.
He says there's a bench warrant for your arrest.
Ashley Bailey "He was pretty bold, he gave a name. He said he was Lt. Willis with us, and we don't have a Lt. Willis"
The caller says the warrant is for missing jury duty, and he can collect the money to clear up the fine.
Bailey says the jury duty scam has been around a while.
Throwing in the weight of a badge is new.
Jennifer Woolsey "I would probably think it was the truth, I probably would"
Jennifer Woolsey and Amy Kunstmann say they try not to let scammers get the first word in.
Amy "If I don't know the number, I usually don't answer it. I mean, I figure if it's important enough, they'll leave a voicemail.
The scammer will leave a voicemail, with a fake callback number that even has an 850 area code.
If you dial it, you'll get a fake sheriff's office and hear this:
"You have reached the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. We are currently unable to take your call due to the high volume of calls. Please leave a detailed message and your number and we will return your call"
Ashley Bailey says if you get the call, hang up and report it.
She says if you get any call you're not sure about, look up the number and check it out.
Amy "I wouldn't call the number that they gave me on the voicemail, just because you do have to be careful, I worked in banking for nine years and I've seen a lot of scams, I've seen a lot of people lose a lot of money"
Laura Hussey "The Sheriff's Office says they plan to catch this guy. When they do, he'll face additional charges for impersonating a law enforcement officer."
The sheriff's office says right now, it appears the calls are coming from Gulf County.
Their criminal investigations division is working the case.