LCSO warns of phone scam impersonating authorities

Author: wink news

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff’s Office wants the public to be aware of several incidents that have occurred over the past several days involving caller ID spoofing and the impersonation of a Sheriff’s employee demanding money in lieu of arrest for an outstanding bench warrant.

Unfortunately, the male caller was successful in convincing one frightened victim to purchase $7,000 in reusable gift cards before a deputy was able to intervene and put an end to the ongoing scam.

The calls were similar in nature with the suspect claiming to be either, Lt. Barry Vance, ID #589 or Captain Randolph, ID #89. LCSO says they have no employees matching either of these names.

The imposter claimed a court date was set at the Lee County Court House for Tuesday, March 31 and gave instructions for victims to go to a local grocery store and purchase ten $500 reloadable cards, which would be refunded to them once they appeared in court.

Police say the con artist requested the cell phone numbers of victims so he could stay in contact with them as they were en-route to the store. In one case, the victim was still on the phone with the suspect when a deputy arrived to assist her.

“This scam is being used to trick the residents of Lee County into believing a lie by using fear and intimidation tactics. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will never call you asking for money or threatening arrest if you don’t pay up,” said Sheriff Mike Scott. “It’s also important to realize you can no longer rely on the caller ID system when determining whether a call is legitimate or not”.

Scams that involve prepaid cards can work in a number of ways, making these cards the best way for a fraudster to collect money. Authorities say they are difficult to trace and no photo identification is needed to collect or spend the money. If you purchase one of these cards, it’s important you realize these small cards loaded with your cash have tangible value, and giving someone you don’t know the card’s account number and PIN means you’ve most likely just been duped.

If you have questions about this fraud alert, or if you have received a call and would like to report it, please contact the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 258-3292. If you are a victim and have lost cash in this scam, please call the Sheriff’s Office main line at 239-477-1000.

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