HAMMOND – The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning of a sophisticated phone scam using the sheriff’s office phone number and the names of real officers to defraud victims.
The department’s financial crimes and cyber crimes units are both investigating the scam, according to the TPSO.
The scammers are contacting Tangipahoa residents using a program that makes it appear the call is coming from the real sheriff’s office phone number and telling the potential victims that there is a US Department of the Treasury material witness warrant for their arrest.
The victims are then instructed to use a credit card to pay large sums of money or they will face arrest.
One of the worst aspects of this particular scam is the fact that the perpetrators are identifying themselves as specific TPSO deputies.
“They’re even using the names of real government employees to make an otherwise savvy person fall for their scheme when that person calls the agency to check the reference,” Financial Detective Michael D’Amato said.
Despite the veneer of authenticity, the TPSO warned residents not to fall for the fraud, specifying in a Facebook post that “no government entity operates in this manner.”
“Sheriff Edwards wants everyone to be mindful of a simple philosophy: If they’ve called you, it’s probably a scam,” the statement reads. “If you’ve been contacted by one of these scammers, don’t wait – time is of the essence. Call your local law enforcement agency right away.”