Scammers using Sheriff’s Office phone number as front

By Daily News • Last Updated 1:27 pm on Friday, August 01, 2014

IONIA — On Thursday, deputies with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a phone scam in which the caller imitates and claims to be a representative of the Sheriff’s Office calling to collect money to avoid being arrested for a warrant.

In the complaint received, a local woman was asked to pay $4,000 via bank transfer to the caller to avoid being arrested. The woman wisely did not pay the money and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

This call appeared to have originated from a telephone number belonging to the Sheriff’s Office, but it was not. This is not the first complaint of this type of scam occurring in West Michigan, as other departments and agencies have dealt with similar complaints recently.

These scam phone calls are often “spoofed” to make them appear to be whatever number the scammer wants on a caller ID. These calls usually originate from overseas. The scammer often has an accent that is easy to distinguish as being foreign. They will ask for either direct bank account transfers, Western Union wire transfers or the purchase of Green Dot cards from retailers that can then be forwarded to the scammer as payment.

Residents should know that law enforcement does not collect bond money for arrest warrants over the phone. Anyone who is asked to pay any amount of money to avoid being arrested is the target of this scam or a similar scam. Anyone with any questions or concerns should contact the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office via Central Dispatch at (616) 5270400.

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