JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints of arrest warrant scams over the last few days and law enforcement is warning the community to beware of scammers and take precautions to protect yourselves.

Scammers are identifying as members of local law enforcement and demanding payment in the form of gift cards to avoid being arrested on a warrant, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Some scammers are even using the names of legit detectives.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone in the community to know that they will never call anyone to inform them about a warrant and demand payment of any kind. They will never make a phone call regarding a warrant. Warrants are issued by knocking on doors, not by making calls. Law enforcement will never demand money, gift cards, money transfers or cryptocurrency for any reason.

How to spot scammer in the act

  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers manipulate caller ID to look like the call is coming from an official government number. If you’re concerned then look up the agency’s number yourself and give them a call, but don’t use the number in the caller ID.
  • Government agencies won’t call, text or email you out of the blue to demand payment right away.
  • No legit law enforcement official will ever tell you to pay with gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency.
  • Never share personal information with anyone who contacts you. If you’re worried, look up the government agency’s information yourself to check with them.

Typical scams circulating right now

  • The scammer says you have won a sweepstakes or lottery but you must send money to collect your winnings.
  • The scammer says your assets are frozen until you pay a fake debt, fine or lien.
  • The scammer says they will help you recover money you already lost in a scam.
  • The scammer says they are collecting back taxes or immigration fees.
  • The scammer threatens to fine you, put you in prison or take your property unless you pay.
  • The scammer says they are protecting you from being scammed.
  • The scammer tells you to take money out of your bank account, tells you to wire money, get a gift card or buy cryptocurrency.
  • The scammer demands secrecy, tells you to act right away and says you’re about to lose money.

How to avoid these types of scams

You will never receive a phone call that tells you there is a warrant issued for your arrest. Those matters are handled via paper documentation, typically served in person by a uniformed officer. Never, ever agree to meet someone at a strange address, especially someone who calls and demands cash payment.

How to report these types of scams:

If a scammer contacts you, your report can help to stop them. Report them online and share as much information as you can, including:

  • the date and time of the call;
  • the person and agency name the scammer used;
  • what the scammer wants you to do, pay, or share, including any amounts; and
  • the phone number that showed up on your caller ID. Even a fake number can help law enforcement track the scammer.

Deputies say to remember the following: “Don’t pay, don’t share and tell the FTC right away.”