IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. - A retired Navy officer was warning his neighbors after a scammer posing as a San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputy reportedly threatened to arrest him.
Ed Oliver said he got the anonymous phone call Thursday using a real deputy's name and referencing an actual judge, threatening to handcuff him if he didn't pay a bogus fine.
"He was pretty convincing he had a script every question I asked him trying to draw out information he had an answer for," said Oliver.
Oliver said he received a missed call and voicemail from someone saying they were from the San Diego Sheriff's Department message service requesting an immediate call back.
"He said I was in an accident last year where I signed off as a witness and I failed to show up for court therefore I had these two citations," said Oliver. "I had two options, I could either be arrested right now - the reason I wasn’t arrested already was that I had a clean record - the second was that I could pay a fine."
One red flag was that Oliver had never been in a crash and the other flag was the cash demand.
Law enforcement started to pay attention when Oliver filed a report stating the caller used an actual on-duty deputy name, referenced the wrong rank.
"They recognized it as a scam right away, but what’s surprising and shocking is that the names involved that the individual gave are actual employees of the city," said Oliver.
Another Imperial Beach man posted on Facebook that he, too, received the same call recently. Now, Oliver and his neighbors are speaking out in hopes no one in their community fall victim to the con.
"Either a senior citizen or someone younger might fall victim to this… this guy was really good and he’s going to hurt somebody."