Phone Scammer Acts Like Sheriff's Official, Demands Money

A single mother lost $1,000 to the scam

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Michele Monks says she's the victim of a phone scam in which the suspect pretends to be a member of the sheriff's department.

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department sent out a warning against a man pretending to be one of their own. 

    Officials said the man calls people and claims to be a member of the sheriff’s department. He tells the person on the other end of the line that they or a family member has an outstanding warrant for their arrest. 
    To avoid arrest, the suspect says the victims must pay him cash immediately. 
    In a statement released Friday, Sheriff Gore said his department would not call anyone seeking payment for an outstanding arrest warrant. 
    Santee single mother Michele Monks said she lost more than $1,000 in the scam. 
    The caller told her she owed $1,000 on a loan and faced three felony charges if she did not pay it right away. 
    "He said, 'You need to leave work now. You need to go to the bank. You need to withdraw this money,'" Monks said.
    While Monks knew she didn’t have any outstanding loans, she thought her estranged husband might have borrowed the money. 
    As Monks talked with the suspect, another woman called her, posing as a law enforcement officer and threatening to arrest her. She searched for that number online and found it belongs to the sheriff’s substation in Santee.
    Scared and confused, Monks borrowed $1,000 from a relative. She then bought two $500 “Green Dot Money Pak” cards at CVS and read the cards’ serial numbers to the suspect, per his instructions.
    "I didn't know what to do. I was literally, I felt I was being robbed at gunpoint and there was no one there," Monks said.
    Monks shared her story with NBC 7 because she wants to help other potential victims avoid this scam.
    If you receive a call like that, officials said you should hang up and call the sheriff’s department at 858-565-5200 or another police agency.
    Anyone who knows about the man impersonating a peace officer is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.