Sheriff’s office: Just hang up if ‘we’ call you demanding money

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is telling residents to just hang up if they get a call from a “deputy” telling them they need to pay up or face jail time.

That’s because it’s a scam meant to intimidate and confuse, according to the county’s communications office, which put out a release this week warning of an uptick in the calls.

Recently, the scam has come from a man saying he is “Lt. Todd Frank” with SDSO and that the resident has an outstanding warrant that they have to pay over the phone.

In reality, any outstanding warrant can’t be cleared up over the phone with a payment — anyone with a warrant for their arrest has to turn themselves in to the Sheriff’s Court facility and work their way through the legal process.

SDSO is warning San Diegans that the calls can be convincing. Sometimes, scammers use the name of a real Sheriff’s deputy that they found online, or use a fake caller ID to make it seem like the call is coming from the Sheriff’s facility.

The county said never to give personal or payment information to one of these callers, regardless of their tricks.

People can check whether they have an outstanding warrant by visiting the SD Sheriff courts page, and they can check whether they have jury service by calling the Superior Court of California at 619-450-5757, dialing “0” and speaking with an operator.