Scammers are posing as officers in Will County and stealing money from people with phony arrest warrant claims, police said.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office has received reports in October o residents who have conned by scammers posing as officers, sheriff officials said in a news release.
No sheriff’s office staff member or any other law enforcement agency will accept payment for citations, bail, bond, warrant service, processing fees or any other charge over the phone or by email, police said.
“Police will never ask for your bank information or for you to purchase cards or conduct wire transfers,” police said.
Anyone with doubts about whether a caller is an actual officer should call the Laraway Communications Center at 815-727-8575 and ask for an in-person meeting with a deputy.
The willcountywarrants.com website allows residents to verify warrants, police said.
In each incident, the scammer identifies as a detective with the sheriff’s office and claims the targets of the scam have a failure-to-appear warrant for charges concerning Paycheck Protection Program funds, police said.
The victims are told they can pay warrant fees over the phone to avoid arrest and that their professional license may be in jeopardy if they’re arrested, police said.
“The victims, although have never applied for (Paycheck Protection Program) loans, are in fear of losing their license and are convinced that they should pay to have the warrant lifted while they clear up the (phony) criminal charges,” police said.
The scammer tells the victims to buy Green Dot MoneyPak cards at retail stores for up to $400 per card and then provide the numbers on the back of the card.
“Occasionally, the victim questions the identity of the scammer and he offers to call them back from the Will County Sheriff’s landline,” police said. “He then places a call using a ‘spoof’ card, which allows him to have any number he selects show up on the victim’s caller ID.”
The scammer will build up the confidence of the victim by providing names of actual detectives, sergeants, judges and others.
“Scammers are very adept at their trade and use convincing language, seemingly accurate facts, and tone in their voices to convince innocent law-abiding citizens that they are in great jeopardy,” police said. “The scammer engages inn a course of conduct that is not only criminal but also shameful and repulsive.”