Scammers are at it again, this time pretending to be “Sheriff’s deputies” and threatening to arrest doctors, physician assistants, and nurses for missing a court date. So how do you spot this scam?
The scam begins with a phone call from someone who says they’re a Sheriff’s deputy. He’ll say you missed a court date where you were supposed to give expert testimony. His tone is urgent, and he says you’ll be arrested unless you pay a fine — in cash or gift cards.
In a twist, the caller says you have to pay the judge in person at the courthouse, by handing over those gift cards. The caller insists you stay on the phone with him while you go load money onto the gift cards. He may even threaten to arrest you if you hang up. Once you get the cards, but before you get to the courthouse, the caller (who’s still on the phone) says the judge can’t see you, after all. But, he says, you can pay the fine right away by giving him the numbers on the back of the cards.
That’s all a scam, and that scammer who called may use the name of a real officer or fake the caller ID to make their story more convincing. But the real officer isn’t calling. It’s a scammer who’s after your money. To spot the scam, know this:
- Real law enforcement officers will never call to say you’re going to be arrested (or threaten to arrest you if you hang up).
- Real law enforcement officers will never demand that you pay fines by phone.
- Only scammers will call, text, or email demanding that you pay by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app, or a wire transfer service. The government will never do that. So: Stop. Don’t pay.
If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Thanks to our partners at Cuyahoga County Scam Squad for alerting us to this scam.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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I have been getting 3 emails a day from different email recipient's claiming to be from Best Buy Geek Squad with a pending invoice to be charge to my credit card ranging from $296.00-$395.35. I have tried to notify Best Buy and Citi about this matter with no success.
Who do i send this information to so that it gets investigated before someone unknowingly clicks on the links within the emails or calls the phone numbers that are on email.
In reply to I have been getting 3 emails… by SUSSIE A SPRAGUE
Don't click on links, and don't click on the bottom of the email ''Unsubscribe". This lets them know your email address is active. Just block the email. If you are not expecting a bill from Best Buy, then you should not worry. Just let Best Buy know by visiting their website or the store.
I was informed that I was a part of a breach from HCA but they will not tell me how and what doctors or hospital it was that I was breached from. Told to sign up with IDX monitoring that they provide for free. How can I protect myself if I do not have the information about where the breach came from.
Paying for a fine because someone supposedly missed a court date. With a Gift Card. R U Kidding Me? That's a new twist in law enforcement
In reply to Paying for a fine because… by Doug Jedlicka
Same as above, but in my case caller wanted me to get cash and mail it.
From Daytona Beach, FL
It goes that way: they a script with your name on it during a raid or an arrest or at the border with a drug shipment etc.. And they pretend to be on your side investigating the matter from your licensing board. Remember they use your licensing board telephone number with close name of personal working at the board...Pretending to work with FBI and DEA or local police etc....
This exact scam was attempted on my physician husband today. The scammer said someone at his clinic signed for the court appearance and he missed his court date where he was scheduled to be a witness this morning. Then when my husband said he was out of state he raised the bail bond amount to $7500 since he was a flight risk and said to go to the bank to transfer the money then take the receipt to the local police department. When my husband challenged him by saying he couldn’t verdict him as a police detective with our local police department he hung up.
In reply to This exact scam was… by Coriander Stengel
Just had the same call today, the only difference was that I had to post bond to avoid being arrested, that’s when I realized that it was a scam call. Funny how he starts with telling you that you were required to be an expert witness, then goes to you didn’t showed up,therefore the court re-schedule the case because i wasn’t there….lol.
Then the call continues to you have to go to court to pick up some important papers but they can’t tell you what, who, when, etc the case is all about.
Be careful in my case the guy didn’t sound that prepared on the phone and sounded like he was reading a script but be aware that some are very slick. The second they start asking for any type of payment that’s when you know it’s a scam.
Thank you so much for this helpful information. Because you have informed me, I know I’m not alone.