Sheriff’s Department warns of phone scam

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities warned the public Tuesday to beware of a telephone scam carried out by criminals impersonating police personnel.

Claiming to represent the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the perpetrators of the scheme call prospective victims, tell them they are the subject of outstanding arrest warrants and demand immediate payment of “fines,” according to the regional law enforcement agency.

The crooks try to make themselves seem legitimate in various ways, including using the name of an actual sheriff’s employee; reciting the telephone number of a sheriff’s station; revealing bits of victims’ personal information, such as a home address or date of birth; and using equipment that makes the incoming call appear to be coming from the sheriff’s department or other government agency on caller-ID systems.

Actual sheriff’s employees never contact members of the public by telephone to demand any form of payment.

Anyone receiving such a call is advised to contact the Federal Communications Commission at fcc.gov/complaints or the Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200.

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