Fresno Co. Sheriff's Office: Scammer calling people, posing as deputy

Authorities say a man is threatening to arrest people who don't pay their fines

FRESNO, Calif. - Authorities want you to be aware of an ongoing phone scam. They say someone is calling people, pretending to be a Fresno County Sheriff's deputy.

They say it's all about scamming victims for money. The suspect even gives out a fake name and badge number, telling people they need to pay up or be arrested.

Authorities say a man behind random phone calls, is posing as an employee of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. In one documented case, he scared a woman with this line.

"He said that she had signed some sort of paper saying that she was expected to be in jury duty and when she didn't show up, she's now in violation and she's going to face jail time because of it," said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Botti says the caller tells people there's a warrant for their arrest and paying a certain amount of money will help them avoid jail time.

Authorities say the phone number suspects used to potentially scam victims, was listed on caller ID as the Fresno County Sheriff's Department. But that's simply not the case once you dial the number.

A pre-recorded message is a ploy to trick anyone who calls back. Authorities say the warrants and citation unit doesn't exist.

"Anything they can do to get you on the line is a victory for them because it gives them room to move in and see if they can target you to get something out of you," said Botti.

Botti says the suspect also asks their target to meet them in public to pay the so-called fine, even telling them to buy gift cards to read them the security codes, giving scam artists access to hundreds of bucks. Authorities ask you to shut these calls down if you're not in trouble with the law.

"Get the person off the phone, take down as much information as possible and report it to the authorities," said Botti.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office wants to make it clear. The agency does not solicit the public for money or ask for payments of fines over the phone.

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