Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit
Detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to a recent phone scam occurring in Pinellas County. The suspects are using a phone spoofing technique to make themselves appear to be calling from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives were first notified of the phone scam on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.
The suspects are calling businesses and residents located in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County Detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to a recent phone scam occurring in Pinellas County. The suspects are calling businesses and residents in Pinellas County posing as the Sheriff’s Office.
According to detectives, three cases have been identified this week where local businesses and residences have been targeted by the phone scam. The suspects call and tell victims they are detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. They state the victim on the line has an outstanding warrant with the Department of Justice or the U.S. Department of Treasury and if their fines are not paid, they will be arrested. They request the money to be sent via pre-paid credit cards, MoneyGram or Western Union.
The suspects are using a spoofing technique to link their phone number to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line. The spoofing technique allows the suspects to use a specialized computer program or phone app to fraudulently display the Sheriff’s Office phone number on the victim’s caller ID.
The suspects making the phone calls are male and appear to have foreign accents.
Please note: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will never call citizens requesting money over the telephone. Detectives advise, citizens should not give personal information or account information over the phone unless you are initiating the phone call.
If anyone has information on these scams or has become a victim to these scams they are asked to call Sgt. Tim Kelly with the Economic Crimes Unit at (727) 582-6200.
The investigation continues.