MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee County deputies are warning residents about a new scam.
Scammers are using the real Manatee County Sheriff’s Office phone number to pose as deputies. The tactic is called caller ID spoofing, deputies said.
Deputies said the scammers are telling people that they need to pay fines immediately to avoid an arrest.
The sheriff’s office said a man was recently told that he was in contempt of court for missing jury duty. The scammer told the man that he needed to pay a fine of over $1,500 to avoid going to jail.
Deputies said the scammer also identified themselves with the name of a real deputy.
The man fell for the scam and provided the scammers with gift cards and has yet to get his money back, deputies said.
If this happens to you, you should hang up and call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011.
The sheriff’s office offered some tips on how to protect yourself from these scams:
- If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
- Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
- Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
- Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sign of a scam.
You can also report phone scams to FTC.gov and FCC.gov.