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Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported people have been operating a phone scam throughout the area, posing as police officers soliciting money.
“They call people and tell them they have a warrant for their arrest or perhaps they failed to show up for jury duty and now have a fine,” read a message posted Wednesday on the San Clemente Police Services Facebook page. “They even use our headquarters address to provide an air of authenticity. Up in Yorba Linda one caller even identified himself as ‘Captain Holloway.’”
An OCSD Twitter message sent Wednesday afternoon also warned the public of the scam, in which callers identify themselves at law enforcement and entice their targets to pay bail or fines in order to avoid arrest for violations including failure to report for jury duty.
The caller ID numbers have often been “spoofed” by the scammers to display the name or telephone number of a local law enforcement agency, the warning reads.
Victims are often instructed to obtain a prepaid credit card and then pay the fines over the phone by giving the caller the card’s number and ID code over the phone.
OCSD officials vehemently stated they never solicit money over the phone, never restrict fines or bail be taken care of by only one form of payment, and fines/warrants are handled by the court that issued them.
People who have a warrant or fines should contact the court directly regarding payment. Court locations and contact information can be found online at www.occourts.org/locations.
The OCSD website also has information about a number of ongoing scams in the area and how to avoid falling victim to them.
OCSD officials are asking that people receive one of these suspicious calls to hang up, not to call back and to immediately contact the sheriff’s department at 949.770.6011 to file a report.