Every few months we receive calls about scammers calling Florida residents, pretending they’re from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, the IRS, or Homeland Security, to name a few, claiming the resident is in legal trouble and will be arrested if they don’t pay up.
The latest warning is about jury duty scams: Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody just sent out a consumer alert that five counties have reported such scams, including two already this year. It’s happened in Citrus, Collier, Lake, Polk, and St. Johns counties so far.
Here’s how it works: The imposter contacts a resident and claims that person missed jury duty and must pay a fine. The bad guy then says the resident will be arrested or subpoenaed if they don’t pay the fine immediately. The goal is to scare you into paying fees, or steal your personal financial information.
Failing to appear for jury duty is NOT grounds for immediate arrest.
If you’ve received a phone call or voicemail from a phone number saying it’s the Sheriff’s Office and there’s a warrant for your arrest, it’s NOT us. Scammers even use real names or phone numbers of people who work here at the Sheriff’s Office or other police agencies. Don’t fall for it!
When criminals like this call you, they may instruct you to go to Walgreens or Walmart or Target to buy gift cards for hundreds of dollars to avoid being arrested. That’s a big red flag. Don’t do it. It’s a scam!
Legitimate government agencies don’t operate this way.
The Volusia Sheriff’s Office does NOT call and demand payment. Never has. Never will. If you get a call from someone who’s reporting themselves to be me or Deputy John Smith, it’s a fake. It’s a fraud. They’re out to scam you. Please don’t fall for it.
Deputies don’t notify people about arrest warrants by phone, and they never accept money to clear them. Scammers will try to pressure victims into paying the fake fines right away, but don’t give in. Hang up and do your own research.
Here are some tips from the Attorney General’s Office web site: www.my floridalegal.com to guard against jury duty scams:
Be wary of Caller ID, as this can be spoofed, making a phone call look like it’s coming from a real source.
Always be suspicious if you receive unusual calls like this. Listen to your gut! Hang up!
ur real number is 386.248.1777 or call 911 in an emergency. Call us if you are not sure. We’re here to help.
Stay safe and stay smart,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood