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Manatee County Sheriff issues phone scam alert

(WOIO)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 2:00 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has issued a phone scam alert for residents.

Detectives are investigating recent reports of scams involving people pretending to be members of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, while telling people they must pay fines or face jail time.  The calls have reportedly appeared on Caller IDs as (941) 747-3011 – the actual MCSO non-emergency line.

In a recent case, a woman was told she failed to respond to a subpoena and a bench warrant had been issued for her arrest if she did not pay a fine of $3,000 immediately.  The scammer also identified themselves using the name of a real deputy in an attempt to make the potential victim believe the call was legitimate. Fortunately, this woman didn’t fall for it and contacted MCSO.

If you receive a call from someone saying they are with any government or law enforcement agency and they request personal financial information or demand payment, THIS IS A SCAM! Please be careful not to fall for this or any other potential phone scam.  These thieves often prey on the elderly using fake Caller ID information to trick their victims into thinking they are someone local, someone they can trust – like a government agency, police department, sheriff’s office, or a company they do business with – like a bank or cable provider.  The practice is called “Caller ID Spoofing,” and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use.  Don’t rely on a Caller ID to verify who’s calling.  It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the Caller ID information is real.

If you receive calls such as this one asking for money or gift cards, treat the call as a scam and notify law enforcement.  Anyone seeking information on scams can call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011.

Here are a few tips for handling these calls:

· If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.

· Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.

· Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.

· Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sign of a scam.

SCAM/Fraudulent phone calls can be reported to FTC.gov and FCC.gov . Additional information on the latest scams and frauds can be found on MyFloridaLegal.com and FreshfromFlorida.com

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