Phone scam warning issued for Suncoast area

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SARASOTA COUNTY - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens about a telephone scam that attempts to extort money from innocent individuals who the caller claims is wanted.

There are two recent reports of a caller claiming to be with the sheriff’s office warrants division who tells the victim that they are wanted but the matter can be cleared up if the victim loads the fine amount onto green dot card and provides it to the caller.

Neither person complied with the caller and both reported it to law enforcement.

It is important to note that the majority of warrants cannot be satisfied without appearing in person at either the jail or in court; the warrants division does not collect fine amounts, all money is paid to the Clerk of Court; and wanted individuals would never be asked to meet with a deputy to exchange funds.

“As legitimate as some of these phone scams may sound, the callers are criminals who want to separate citizens from their hard earned money,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. In every case, just hang up, think about what was said, and then report the call.”

Anyone who may have been the victim of this or a similar scam should contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number, 941.316.1201.

For more information about scams and fraud visit the Federal Trade Commission web site or click here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-telemarketing-scams.