A Scam About Warrants that Sounded Real

by on April 22, 2019 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

by Judi Curry

About a week ago my friend Mary called me in a panic.  I could hear the heavy breathing; the fear in her voice.  She told me that she was calling me, the only one that she could talk to, because she thought that I might have an answer to her problem.

During almost our entire conversation, she hovered between fear and disbelief.  It was an electrifying experience from my side of our talk. This is what happened:

She received a call from a man that introduced himself as “Sheriff Robert Biggs”.  He was calling her to let her know that a warrant for her arrest had just been issued because she was called to jury duty and she did not show up.  In California, he said, that is a felony offense and the sheriff was on his way to pick her up.  He actually cited two different laws that penalize a person for not making contact with the court system when called to jury duty.

She could, if she wished, go to the Sheriff’s station, and he gave her the address of 9621 Richhaven Court,  and she could turn herself in. (The interesting part of this call is that IS the address of the sheriff’s station in San Diego.)

He did not ask her for money; he did not verify her address; he did not verify her phone number; in fact, he didn’t even verify her name.  The phone call, interestingly enough, came in through an advertisement that she has placed in a professional magazine.  Her actual phone number is not in the ad; all calls go through the magazine’s number base and are forwarded on to her.

She called me because she wanted to know what to do. Should she leave for the sheriff’s office right away? She said that she never got a jury summons, but that maybe it was lost in the mail. (Also an interesting fact, because all of her mail is delivered to my address since she has just recently moved to San Diego!) I knew that she did not receive the summons that he spoke about.

I told her that I was pretty sure that it was a scam, but I was curious why the call was made since he didn’t ask for money. I wondered if she got in her car to drive to the sheriff’s office, would she be watched and they would have tried to abduct her as she drove. I was puzzled as to why they gave her the actual address of the sheriff’s office; I wondered if this was a “candid camera” stunt and when she arrived at the station if everyone would yell “surprise.”

I suggested to her that she contact the sheriff’s office – I gave her the phone number because I knew she was too upset to look it up herself – and asked her to call me after speaking to them.

A much relieved Mary called me back several minutes later. She spoke to a Sheriff at the station and was told it was definitely a scam. The Sheriff told her this particular scam started about two years ago. When I asked Mary what the scammer wanted, she said she had been so upset that she forgot to ask the Sheriff.  Her voice was still quivering and she was still nervous so I did not suggest that she make a call back to the sheriff.  But I did. And this is what he told me:

This scam has been going on for several years.  What the caller wants to do is to intimidate you to the point that you will do anything he asks you to do. Usually it is to buy an Itunes gift card and give them the serial number from it.  In Mary’s case, when she began asking questions she said that she was going to call the sheriff’s office to check on the call and then hung up.  The caller didn’t call back but if she had not made the threat, the caller would have become more forceful and insist that the only way she could handle the warrant was by the payment of a gift card.

So… beware if you should get the same type of call that Mary got. And let me end this with a quote from the Sheriff:

“If we want you we will come and get you.  We will not call you and tell you we are coming.”

Beware!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Eric April 19, 2019 at 7:36 pm

I’ve had several of these calls. As well as the IRS jail threat. Laugh at them and call their bluff. I told the last one I was a Federal Officer and putting a trace on their call, click. Keep them on the phone with stupid questions, give them made up credit card numbers, play dumb and have some fun with them. You can hear their arteries hardening when they finally realize you’re screwing with them.
Bottom line, no legitimate entity is going to call you and threaten you, none, never ever.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 23, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Here’s something very weird: See today’s LA Times:

Los Angeles County officials said Monday they are investigating a call made by a man claiming to be a Sheriff’s Department official who threatened to arrest the county’s chief attorney.

The threat came in the form of a call Saturday to the personal cellphone of the county counsel, Mary Wickham, from a person who said he was a Sheriff’s Department sergeant, the county’s interim Inspector General Rodrigo A. Castro-Silva said in a statement.

The caller apparently told Wickham to immediately surrender to a Sheriff’s Department station for failing to appear on a grand jury summons from 2006.

The caller threatened to arrest Wickham at her home when she told him there was no basis for his demand, the statement said. Castro-Silva said his office has launched an investigation into the matter. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-sheriff-threat-countycounsel-20190422-story.html

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