Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk and Camden County Sheriff Charles Billingham alerted the public Wednesday to a scam in which callers pose as sheriff’s officers to extort money from victims with the threat of arrest.
This type of scam is being used elsewhere in the country, and at least two cases have been reported in Camden County in the past month. The first was reported in September, and the second yesterday, October 8. In both cases, the caller used “ID spoofing” software that disguises the caller’s real phone number with another number, in these cases the phone number for the Camden County Sheriff’s Department. To the caller ID of the person receiving the call, it appeared the call was coming from the Camden County Sheriff’s Department. The caller also used the name of a legitimate high ranking Sheriff’s officer.
In both instances the caller told the two Camden County residents they had outstanding warrants and if they did not pay for fines they would be arrested. Neither victim actually owed any money for fines or violations. One victim offered to pay with a credit card, and the caller insisted a money order or debit card be used instead. The caller posing as the Sheriff’s officer told the targets to call him back at a Florida number, (904) 352-87 30. The Florida number is identical to one used in a similar scam reported in Pope County, Fla., where a caller also posed as a sheriff’s officer and attempted to extort money through threats of arrest.
Both Camden County targets were suspicious and called back the number that showed up on their caller IDs, which connected them with the real Camden County Sheriff’s Department. Neither person paid the caller any money.
The Sheriff’s Department and the Prosecutor’s Office are aware of this scam, but tracking people engaging in this activity is difficult. The public should be aware that they may be targeted by this crime and be wary of any such requests that arrive via a phone call. The Sheriff’s Department does not resolve warrants in this manner and would never solicit payments over the phone. All warrants must be settled through official channels and cannot be resolved through phone conversations.