Scam Phone Calls

***Update as of 3/19/2018- New Phone Scam Targeting Citizens In Pinellas***

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to a recent phone scam occurring in Pinellas County. The suspect is calling residents in Pinellas County and identifying himself as Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Detective Roscoe Dobson.

According to detectives, the suspect identifies himself and informs the citizen that they have an outstanding warrant for missing jury duty. The suspect tells the citizen that if they don’t turn themselves in at the Sheriff’s Office, or pay the fines, they will be arrested at their residence. 

The suspect instructs the citizen to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit or gift cards. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the card and claims that the warrant will be purged from the system once the money is paid. 

Detectives say the suspect is also “spoofing” his phone number causing the caller ID to show that the suspect is calling from the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone line (727) 582-6200. There have been multiple incidents where Pinellas County citizens have been targeted using this scam.

Please note: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will never call citizens requesting money over the telephone. Detectives advise citizens to not give personal information or account information over the phone, and call the Sheriff’s Office to report suspicious activity.  

If anyone has information on this scam or has become a victim they are asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.

The investigation continues.

***End of Update***

***Update as of 3/7/2018- Phone Scammers Changing Their Tactics To Target Citizens***

Detectives say phone scammers are changing their tactics to try and obtain money from citizens.

According to detectives, phone scammers are now calling and leaving messages for citizens in Pinellas. The suspect identifies themselves as Deputy Harris with the “Sheriff’s Office” and explains how they have failed to appear in court and/or show up for jury duty. The suspect leaves a phone number and instructs the victim to call the phone number provided immediately.

Investigators say when the victim calls the phone number provided, another unknown suspect answers the phone “Sheriff’s Office.” The victim is put on hold until the suspect picks up and tells the victim they missed a jury summons, confirms the victim’s personal information, and tells the victim of an outstanding warrant. 

The suspect explains to the victim they can either turn themselves into the jail or post bond. The suspect instructs the victim to go to a nearby convenient store and purchase “vouchers” or pre-paid debit cards.

The suspect instructs the victim to go to 14250 49th Street North, in Clearwater (Pinellas County Justice Center) to meet the alleged deputy to pay the fine. 

The suspect explains to the victims that if they do not pay a fine, he will send a deputy to their home and arrest them.

Please note: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will not call citizens requesting money over the telephone. Citizens should not give personal information, agree to meet someone or give account information over the telephone unless they are initiating the phone call and confident they are speaking with a trusted source.

If anyone has information on this scam or has become a victim, they are asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.

The investigation continues.

***End of Update***

***Original News Release***

Economic Crime Detectives Want To Warn Residents Of Two Phone Scams Occurring In Pinellas County

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit

What:
Detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to recent phone scams occurring in Pinellas County.

When:
Detectives were first notified of the phone scams on Monday, February 26, 2018.

Where:
The suspects are calling residents located in Pinellas County.

Why/How:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to recent phone scams occurring in Pinellas County. The suspects are calling residents in Pinellas County identifying themselves as a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sergeant or a Duke Energy employee.

In the case of the Sheriff’s Office phone scams, the suspect calls residents and falsely identifies themselves as a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sergeant. One suspect identified himself as Sergeant Jim Gaskins from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect informs the citizen that they have an outstanding warrant for missing jury duty. The suspect tells the citizen that if they don’t turn themselves in at the Sheriff’s Office, or pay the fines, they will be arrested at their residence. 

The suspect instructs the citizen to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift card. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the gift card and claims that the warrant will be purged from the system once the money is paid. 

In the case of the Duke Energy phone scams, the suspect calls residents falsely identifying themselves as a Duke Energy representative and demands payment before the citizen’s power gets turned off. The suspect instructs the citizen to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift cards. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the card and directs them to provide the card information.

Detectives say there have been multiple incidents where Pinellas County citizens have been targeted using these scams.

***Please note: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Duke Energy will never call citizens requesting money over the telephone. Detectives advise citizens to not give personal information or account information over the phone, and call the Sheriff’s Office to report suspicious activity.  

If anyone has information on these scams or has become a victim they are asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.

The investigation continues.

 

Posted by Spencer Gross Friday, March 2, 2018 8:04:00 PM Categories: Property Crimes

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911