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A phone scam employing the threat of arrest is bilking money out of local residents, sheriff's deputies warn.

In early 2013, local authorities uncovered an operation in which individuals posing as sheriff's deputies would contact local residents via phone and falsely inform them that arrest warrants had been issued for alleged petty crimes. An immediate demand for payment of fines due was issued, with the threat that a deputy would soon arrive to arrest the individual if payment wasn't made.

The scammers have upped their game this time around — recent victims in the East County area have reported that the callers have been able to "spoof" caller ID systems to make their calls appear to have originated from local law enforcement agencies. They're also ready with personal information such as birth dates or former addresses in order to make their demands seem legitimate.

Authorities say they would never demand cash or credit card information via an unsolicited phone call. Any potential victims are advised to end such calls immediately and file a report with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the incident.

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Comments

Visduh Aug. 26, 2014 @ 2:01 p.m.

Wouldn't it also make sense to call the sheriff yourself, and provide as much info as you have in regard to the call? The FCC isn't going to bust these crooks; that's the job of law enforcement.

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danfogel Aug. 26, 2014 @ 4:35 p.m.

It always amazes me that people fall for this stuff.

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Visduh Aug. 26, 2014 @ 8:33 p.m.

Having a guilty conscience increases the vulnerability greatly. So does a fear of authority. And then there's the natural fear of arrest and being booked into jail. I do understand why some fall for it, but I don't understand why some of them with many years on the planet which should bring a strong dose of skepticism doesn't stop it from happening.

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