Photo by John Schreiber
Photo by John Schreiber

A series of scams in recent weeks in which telephone callers pretend to be sheriff’s officials looking to collect fines has prompted authorities to warn the public that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department does not collect court fines.

In the most recent spate of fraud cases, the caller falsely claimed to be Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock, a spokesman for the department who frequently handles calls from reporters about crimes.

Four Tustin residents told authorities they received a call within the past two weeks from the bogus Lt. Hallock, Hallock said.

Three Santa Ana residents recently said were targeted with the scam, Hallock said.

A couple of victims forked over about $500 to $800 to the thieves, Hallock said.

The crooks call residents claiming to be holding a warrant for their arrest for failing to report for jury duty or unpaid parking tickets, Hallock said.

The victim is instructed to buy a pre-paid money card and call back with the identifying number of the card, Hallock said.

The thieves are sophisticated enough to have names of actual officers like Hallock, have set up phony voicemail systems with their names and even use devices to spoof the law enforcement official’s  name on caller ID, Hallock said.

Sheriff’s officials say they never would collect fines or fees over the phone in such a manner, Hallock said.

City News Service

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