Scammers pose as law enforcement, use local phone numbers

(WISH Photo)

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents after scammers have posed as deputies so they can steal hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars from you.

The sheriff’s office received several phone calls last week about the warrant scam. Scammers are doing everything they can to get your attention, even posing as “Deputy Dave Harper” from the “Warrants and Citations Division.”

24-Hour News 8 learned the scam begins with a phone call and what appears to be a familiar number.

“What was so odd about it is that the phone call was actually a local number. That’s why I picked the phone up,” said one woman, who didn’t want to be identified.

The 46-year-old woman from Johnson County answered her phone, and the caller got her attention right away.

“He said his name was Deputy David Harper so he actually gave his name as a deputy and, so, of course, that piqued my interest right away,” she said.

She said “Deputy Harper” talked to her about a relative, who got in trouble with the law and skipped out on a court date.

“They actually went on to give me a date, Oct. 4, that a family member missed, and I thought well this is strange because she doesn’t live in Indiana,” she said.

The caller told her he wanted to talk to her husband about the issue so she jotted down the caller’s name and phone number.

“They were very sly about it, very subtle with their information, so I think they know exactly what they’re doing,” she said.

But her husband knew it was a scam.

“I definitely think it was a hook to use my husband’s name as some kind of confidential, you know, family situation, so that way we would call back and then they would just get you more and more.”

Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said these scammers are doing their homework and research. They even created a fake phone number where people can call them back.

“Please do not be sending these individuals money. We’ve seen cases where people have lost $5,000, $10,000, and they’re never going to see that money again,” the sheriff said.

Cox urged people to be aware so you don’t become a victim to the warrant scam.

“No. 1, we’re never going to prewarn you that there’s a warrant out for your arrest and, two, we’re never going to ask you for money to try to get out of that warrant that may have been issued for you,” he said.

The sheriff told 24-Hour News 8 the best thing you can do if you don’t recognize the number is to not pick up the phone and let it go to voicemail.

If you do answer, take down the caller’s name and number, and check with police or a relative about the call, and don’t forget you can always hang up the phone.