Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit
Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit are investigating a phone scam in which the caller claims to be a “Lieutenant” with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives say the subject contacts potential victims telling them they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest on a no-show for jury duty and attempts to collect as much as $800 in fines by instructing them to purchase prepaid cards and call him back with the information.
Detectives warn residents to beware of the phone scam; and remind residents that the Sheriff’s Office would not call persons with outstanding warrants; and would never require persons with outstanding warrants to pay a fine via a prepaid or green dot card; or via any other third party vendor.
Three similar type incidents were reported over the weekend from March 21 through March 23, 2014. One of those was received by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
According to investigators, the caller identifies himself as “Lieutenant John Roberts” of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and informs the potential victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest for a failure to appear for jury duty. Detectives say the caller then instructs the potential victim to purchase a prepaid debit card or green dot card to pay for the fines, he further tells them what store to buy it from; and to call him back with the information. Detectives say he has also told potential victims that if they do not do as instructed, he will come to their house to arrest them.
Residents are reminded that the Sheriff’s Office would not call persons with outstanding warrants; and would never require persons with outstanding warrants to pay a fine via a prepaid or green dot card; or via any other third party vendor.
According to investigators in each of the reported cases the calls were received from the same local number, which is now disconnected.
The investigation continues.
If you have been a victim of this crime, please contact the Economic Crimes Unit at (727) 582-6200.