Sheriff’s Department warns residents of old fines scam

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 20, 2015

Scammers are telling Warren County residents they owe old fines in justice court and need to tender an electronic payment or face arrest, Sheriff Martin Pace said Friday.

“We have received several calls today reporting that people are receiving phone calls from someone claiming that they are representing the sheriff’s office and collecting old fines,” Pace said.

The sheriff’s office does not collect fines and “would never call someone on the phone and instruct them to send a payment anywhere,” he said. Those who receive such calls should “just simply hang up the phone,” Pace said.

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“Our advice is to disconnect contact and have nothing to do with the caller on the other end. Don’t argue, don’t give them any information,” he said.

The scammers are using names of local justice court judges and thus far have only called landline telephones, Pace said.

“I can assure the public this is a scam,” Pace said.

Anyone who receives such a call should hang up and disconnect all communications with the caller. Scam victims or those who have been called by scammers are encouraged to call 911 and file a report.

The sheriff’s office is also interested in the caller ID information received by perspective scam victims, he said.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office have obtained several phone numbers where calls originated and are looking to trace them back to the caller.

Scammers can be tough to track, Pace said.

“Many times these phone scams involve disposable telephone that can be obtained anywhere,” Pace said.

Phone scams are a regular complaint by Warren County residents, Pace said. Common scams involve lottery winnings, old court fines and overdue library books.

“Before you give any identifying information over the phone and before you send any money based on a phone call, it should be researched and the documentation should be checked out,” he said.