Charlotte Sheriff warns of phony phone calls

CREATED Jan 21, 2014

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - FOX 4 in Your Corner has learned of a phony phone call scam in Charllotte County. 

A Punta Gorda man reported getting a phone call Friday from someone from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, demanding he pay a fine or face arrest.  The call did not come from CCSO. 

Deputies met with the 25-year-old man and he first got a call from an attorney's office telling him that if a fine wasn't paid he would face a criminal charge.  The call did not originate from the Sheriff’s Office.

A couple of hours later, the man received another call from someone who claimed to be from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, also demanding that he pay the bill within 90 minutes or face criminal charges. 

The caller ID from that call showed as 941-258-3900, which is the correct number for the Sheriff’s Office’s District 4 office.  The complainant called that number back and found that nobody had called him.

The man said that only a few minutes later, he received another call from the “attorney’s office” saying that they knew he had been called by the Sheriff’s Office and again demanding payment.

When the deputy called the toll-free number, he got a recording indicating it was not an active number.  The deputy concluded that whoever was making the calls was able to manipulate the information displayed on the caller ID.

Although there have been reports of similar types of scams in other counties where the callers have manipulated their caller ID, this report was the first such complaint filed in Charlotte County, at least recently.

“The complainant in this case did what he should have done.  He checked it out by calling our District 4 office,” Sheriff Bill Prummell said.  “Nobody at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is going to call someone to demand payment like that.”

Anyone who receives a call such as this one is reminded to confirm who they are actually talking to, making sure it is a legitimate call, so they don’t fall victim to a scam.  If you think you are being scammed, call your local law enforcement agency to report the situation.