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Phone Scam Alert: Scammers Posing as Sheriff’s Deputies

Post Date:08/02/2017 11:22 AM

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office News Release

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has received a large number of reports countywide the past several days regarding a familiar phone scam where the caller poses as a Sheriff’s deputy.  In several of the cases, the scammer used the name of a deputy actually employed by the Sheriff’s Office.  The call appears to be coming directly from the Sheriff’s Office making it seem even more legitimate.

The way this scam works is that after introducing himself as a Sheriff’s deputy, the caller tells the resident that there is a bench warrant issued for their arrest because they did not show up for jury duty.  The caller then offers to resolve the warrant if the citizen purchases a pre-paid credit card and provides the card number during a subsequent call.   The caller even agrees to meet the resident in person at the Sheriff’s Office and provides the address.

If you receive a phone call of this nature, you should immediately hang up and call the Sheriff’s Office or any other law enforcement agency where the caller claims to be calling from to verify the information.  Do not be fooled by your caller identification, even if it appears that the number is coming from the Sheriff’s Office or an 805 area code.  Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information. 

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind residents that our agency does not call residents over the phone to notify them of a warrant nor do we take any payments of any kind over the phone.  The Sheriff’s Office has seen this particular scam before, and many versions of it, that pop up time and time again.  We do not want to see any of our residents become a victim of these scams and urge you to never give your personal or financial information out over the phone.  To report phone scams, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visitftc.gov/complaint

These scams often target the elderly population.  The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is holding two upcoming “Scams Targeting Seniors” presentations with tips on how to spot these scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.   Santa Barbara County seniors are encouraged to attend.

August 21st  5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Positano Community Room                             
11 Camino de Vido                                          
Goleta                                                              

August 22nd 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Miller Community Center
5579 Armitos Avenue
Goleta