For the last several weeks, Ionia County residents have been subject to a telephone call scam in which the caller claims to be a police officer or deputy sheriff and instructs the recipient of the phone call to purchase pre-paid gift cards to pay off a bond on a warrant or that they will be arrested, a media release from the sheriff’s office said.
No law enforcement agency will ever take bond money by phone by credit/debit card or via any sort of pre-paid gift card, iTunes gift card, Green-Dot, or Moneygram, according to the sheriff’s office.
The scammers have also started using real names of Ionia County Sheriff’s Office members, specifically using the name of Det/Sergeant Phillip Hesche. Subjects are then directed to call a telephone number that is “spoofed” making it appear local, when in actuality the calls are originating overseas. Subjects of the scam are told the call reception is poor because police use satellite phones.
However, as a new variation to this old scam, the current calls are directed at residents on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SOR) who are being specifically targeted and made to believe they have violated the terms of their SOR and subject to arrest.
The scammers will take information off of the MI-SOR to target specific people in the community. They are sophisticated enough to use realistic sounding court docket numbers, and often tell the subjects they need to provide a DNA sample for their non-compliance.
All of this leads the scammer to trick the resident into providing money by the means noted above.
If you receive such a call, and suspect that call to be a scam, hang up and call your local police agency to verify that no call was placed by them.