Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department says they have become aware that scammers are attempting to trick local residents into giving up thousands of dollars.

Martinez says the department has received several calls from people who say someone identifying themselves as a Lake County Sheriff’s Department employee called them demanding money.  The scammers are able to make the caller ID show a real sheriff’s department phone number to make the call seem legitimate.

Martinez also says the fraudster typically states that there’s an active warrant for the person on the phone and that a payment must be made immediately to avoid jail.  “Sometimes the scammers demand a cash transfer, gift cards, a money order or even cryptocurrency,” Martinez stated on the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

“We would like to assure the public that at no time will the Lake County Sheriff’s Department ever contact a civilian by phone demanding payment for a warrant,” Martinez stated.

“Additionally, no member of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department will ever meet a member of the general public in person for the purpose of collecting funds of any type.  Furthermore, officers do not contact members of the public to warn them before making a legitimate arrest.”

Martinez advises the public that if anyone calls you saying they’re from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and they demand money from you, to simply hang up and dial 9-1-1.