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Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office issues phone scam warning

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning about a phone scam.

Sheriff Nick Chimienti Jr. posted this message on his Facebook page:

The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) once again is issuing a warning about a phone scam targeting residents. This time it wasn’t the elderly being targeted.

Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. has received numerous complaints over the past few days about scammers claiming to be from the DCSO. The scammers indicate to the victim they are in contempt of court for failure to show up for jury duty at the Dauphin County Courthouse. The scammers indicate to the victim that a judge has issued an arrest warrant and the victim will be taken directly to prison.

The scammer then requests the victim to purchase pre-paid Visa Cards or Money-Pak cards in $500.00 increments at local pharmacies, businesses or grocery stores. The scammer tells the victim they must stay on the telephone the entire time while the person drives to a local store or pharmacy to purchase the money cards. In a recent case the victim gave scammers the redemption code numbers of the cards and lost $7500.00.

The DCSO would also like to warn local retailers that anyone trying to purchase these cards in $500.00 increments while the victim is on the phone while making these purchases, to be aware and notify the victim. The cards in this case were purchased at Giant and Weis Grocery Stores and CVS Pharmacy. The victim didn’t realize this was a scam as she was still on the phone with the scammers and the DCSO called her and advised her of the scam.

“These calls are bogus and do not originate from the Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Chimienti. “In various parts of the county, residents are being targeted and threatened with arrest by deputy sheriffs for failure to appear for jury duty. If you or someone you know receives a threatening call from someone claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office, do not share any sensitive information with them and report the call.”

The Sheriff’s Office does not require anyone to provide sensitive information in any telephone call, nor to purchase any kind of monetary device to avoid arrest. These scammers will use a spoofing website to show the phone call originates from the Sheriff’s Office on the victims phone that will indicate on Caller ID the actual phone number leading a victim to believe it is legitimate call from the Sheriff’s Office. This is a very deceptive scam and very hard to trace.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam should try to record as much information as possible, such as a name, call-back number or email address, without giving any of their personal information away. Persons receiving a suspicious call or phone message should immediately file a complaint regarding these scams by calling their local police or the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s toll-free helpline number at 1-800-441-2555.