Scammers Strike, Claiming They’re Law Enforcers

NORRISTOWN PA – Phone scammers impersonating a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy or “sergeant” are attempting to convince area residents they’re about to be arrested for missing jury duty … unless they pay the sheriff’s department. The calls are fake, county Sheriff Sean P. Kilkenny warned Thursday (Nov. 17, 2022).

The county Detective Bureau “is actively investigating this scam,” District Attorney Kevin Steele added. Anyone who receives such a call should notify detectives by calling 610-278-3368, he said.

A typical scam call will originate from what appears on caller identification devices to be an area code 610 phone number, but the sheriff said they are being faked and could come from anywhere. Scammers will introduce themselves as being with the sheriff’s department, and to enhance legitimacy possibly will address the person being called by name, and know his or her address.

Scammers then announce the person being called is in hot water. They’ll falsely claim the individual is about to be arrested because they failed to appear in court, or show up for jury duty, the district attorney said. The arrest warrant can be dismissed if they pay a fee, often between $900 and $2,500, to the department in gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

Don’t agree to that pitch, Sheriff Kilkenny urged. “Sheriff personnel will never call a resident to demand money to satisfy a warrant, or demand money for any reason,” he explained. There’s also no sheriff’s employee with the title of sergeant, he said.

“Arrest warrants are never handled in this manner,” Steele acknowledged. “No money is involved if there is a warrant issued for someone’s failure to appear in court, for jury duty or for any other reason. A failure to appear warrant must be handled in a courtroom in front of a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas,” he said.

Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash, used under license