Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office: ‘Be prepared for scammers’ this holiday season

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, photo, a man uses a cell phone in New Orleans. As the coronavirus spread across borders early in the pandemic, calls to global helplines showed a striking similarity in the toll on mental health _ from China to Lebanon, Finland to Slovenia. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File) (Jenny Kane)

ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office has issued a new alert warning residents of an increase in scam calls during the holiday season.

One scam in particular has callers posing as local law enforcement officials.

“Our office will never contact you demanding payment for missed jury duty or an outstanding warrant,” reads an announcement. “If you receive one of these calls it is a scam and you should hang up immediately.”

During these scams, the caller instructs the victim to purchase gift cards and/or wire money to them. In order to “take care” of the warrant, scammers instruct the victim to provide gift card numbers.

Read: Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office warns residents about impersonation scams

“DO NOT send the numbers, wire money, or meet with the individual to provide payment,” writes the Sheriff’s Office. “These scams can feel real but they are not! Scammers are using real names of local police officers and may even ‘spoof’ the phone number so that the Sheriff’s Office shows up on your caller I.D.”

In some cases, scammers might even know personal information about the person they are calling.

For more information about how to identify these scams, read the Attorney General’s “Don’t Fall Victim to Gift Card Scams” consumer alert.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.