In the last few weeks, the Will County Sheriff’s Office has taken reports from victims who have been defrauded of money by offenders (scammers) posing as law enforcement officers. In each instance, the scammer identifies himself as a detective with the Sheriff’s Office and informs the victim that they have a Failure to Appear (FTA) warrant for charges alleging that the victim has received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money that they were not qualified to receive. The scammer advises the victim that they can pay the warrant fees over the phone in order to avoid arrest. The victims hold professional licenses and the scammer tells them that their license may be in jeopardy if they are arrested. The victims, although have never applied for PPP loans, are in fear of losing their license and are convinced that they should pay to have the warrant lifted while they clear up the (phony) criminal charges.
The scammer instructs victims to purchase Green Dot Money Pak cards at retail stores for up to $400 per card. He then instructs the victim to give him the numbers on the back of the card so that he can redeem the money. If the victim exceeds their daily limit on their debit cards, he instructs them to call their bank and have the limit lifted. In some instances, the scammer remains on the line while the victim three-way calls the bank so that he can acquire information shared over the phone, such as the account number.
Occasionally, the victim questions the identity of the scammer and he offers to call them back from the Will County Sheriff’s landline. He then places a call using a “spoof” card, which allows him to have any number he selects show up on the victim’s caller ID. He has the Sheriff’s Office nyumber show on the display, which gives the victim greater confidence that the scammer is truly a member of the Sheriff’s Office. Furthermore, he provides the name of an actual Will County detective, deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, etc. This furthers the victim’s confidence. Lastly, the scammer provides the name of actual Will County judges stating that they have signed the warrant. Any online search conducted by the victim will then verify that the judge is indeed part of the 12th Circuit Court in Will County, again, giving the victim greater confidence that the call/warrant is real.
Scammers are very adept at their trade and use convincing language, seemingly accurate facts, and tone in their voices to convince innocent law-abiding citizens that they are in great jeopardy. The scammer engages inn a course of conduct that is not only criminal but also shameful and repulsive.
CITIZENS BEWARE! No member of the Sheriff’s Office or any law enforcements agency will accept payment for citations, bail, bond, warrant service, processing fees, or anything else over the phone or email. Police will never ask for your bank information or for you to purchase cards or conduct wire transfers. If you ever have doubts whether a caller is truly a member of our office, or is attempting to reach you, please call Laraway Communications Center at 815-727-8575 and ask to have a deputy meet with you in person.
All Will County warrants can be verified at: www.willcountywarrants.com
NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE.
If you are a victim, please come forward and file a report with the Sheriff’s Office. We also suggest that victims save notes, phone logs, voicemails, receipts, gift card/Money Pak cards, bank records, or any materials that can serve as evidence in the investigation.
Will County Sheriff’s press release