A phone scam involving a caller claiming to be a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant attempting to bilk money from potential victims is under investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit are looking into the scam.
According to police reports, the caller claiming to be “Lieutenant John Roberts” with the Sheriff’s Office tells potential victims that a warrant for their arrest on a no-show for jury duty is outstanding. The scammer then attempts to collect as much as $800 in fines by instructing victims to purchase prepaid debit cards or green dot cards and call him back with the information. The caller warns that he will come arrest the victim if they do not do as instructed.
Three similar incidents were reported to the Sheriff’s Office from March 21–23. According to investigators, each reported call came from the same local number, which is now disconnected.
Detectives are warning residents to beware of the scam, reminding that the Sheriff’s Office would not call persons with outstanding warnings or require payments via prepaid cards or other third-party vendors.
The investigation into this scam is ongoing.
Residents that have been victims of this crime or who have information about this case can call the Economic Crimes Unit at (727) 582-6200.