Contra Costa Sheriff: Scam Targets East Bay Residents

January 9, 2014 10:46 am · 37 comments

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff would like to warn the public about an individual who is impersonating an employee of the Office of the Sheriff.

In the last several days, an unknown man has called residents in the East Bay claiming to be “Lieutenant Jackson of the Warrant Unit.” The caller tells listeners that they failed to appear for jury duty or a traffic violation and that unless they pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. And in order to avoid this, the caller instructs listeners to make payment over the phone through reloadable prepaid cards that could be purchased at a local store.

There is no one by that name employed by the Office of the Sheriff nor is there a “warrant unit”. It is not the practice of any law enforcement agency to have people avoid an arrest warrant by paying through reloadable prepaid cards.

Several people have been victimized by this type of fraudulent activity. Anyone receiving such a call should refuse to provide any personal information to the caller or simply hang up. Please contact your local law enforcement agency and notify them of the incident.

jean January 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Thanks for the heads up.

mike January 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM

That’ll teach yah for skipping jury duty!

Analise January 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Well Lieutenant Jackson you will not scam me. The nerve!

J. January 9, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Since they are are asking for reloadable pre-paid cards they are probably out-of-town (probably out-of-the-country) scammers.

Shelley January 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Why would anyone fall for this?

You would know if you failed to pay a traffic ticket, or flaked out on jury duty. At least I would.

tired of taxes January 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Next time:
– Say you’re really busy and ask for a number to call them back.
– Say you’ve already paid that fine, give them your “case number” (just come up with a couple of random numbers/letters), ask them to check their records again and ask for a call back number.

Then call the sheriff’s office and give them the number.

Happened to me - January 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM

This happened to me. They got a hold of my work ph# and called constantly. We had caller ID but they would call from different #s. I finally called them back pretending to be an attorney and laid into them. The calls stopped. I really hope no one falls for their games.

Incognito January 9, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Unless you have failed to appear for jury duty or a traffic violation, then you have nothing to worry about and would immediately know this is a scam.

Beware January 9, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Another scam that is very common is when someone calls up pretending to be an IRS agent. These scamsters will insinuate that you owe the government money, and that if you don’t provide for personal information that the IRS will contact the police for your arrest. It happened to my parents, and they almost fell for it.

After contacting the local police, the local authorites told my parents that this is a very common scam today. Be careful. If these scamsters do contact you, just hang up.

Dee January 9, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Yep I have to really watch at my parents also…..Had an incident earlier this year where the guy actually left a message on my sisters phone for her to have my Dad call. So we did and I was on the extension and listened to what this jackass had to say for a minute or two as my Dad asked HIM a couple of questions and when he got defensive and it didn’t take long I blasted this jerk…haven’t heard from them since LOL

Meth Monsters January 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Hey look theirs Elvis………
Made u look!!!

Dorothy January 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Sometimes they are too funny for words. Often they will have an accent. They don’t always give a name, or only a first name. Last time I got a scam call I kept saying “Sorry, I have trouble understanding you” several time before I hung up. Sometimes I say I don’t hear well and ask them to speak up or slow down. Doesn’t matter if you understand them or not, just keep saying whatever works for you and frustrates them.

VikingPrincess January 9, 2014 at 12:44 PM

@Dorothy…phew good to know there are people from my planet here 😉
In a previous life, this was something I did. Most people didn’t care and did not understand the importance of it. I took it seriously. Good to know I am not the only one and they have a professional body out there doing the same.

VikingPrincess January 9, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Eek did I post in wrong thread? Oops!
Ha, “blush”

WC Boy January 9, 2014 at 12:59 PM

lets meet at the police department to discuss

Jaded January 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

I would say: “Come and get me Coppa”….

Mitch January 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM

People are actually getting scammed by this?

I hope they’re not targeting the elderly. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Screams scam. January 9, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Um…I don’t ever recall ANYONE ever being arrested, fined, or otherwise for missing “jury duty”.

The county and courts do not have the resources to ever, ever track that, nor to send anyone with a badge to knock on your door.

We throw our jury notices away. Never ever get any grief. Now, I would love to serve, but it’s a waste of my time…they WILL NOT select me.

Those jury notices are left in your mailbox, no one signed for them, and who knows? You may have been away on vacation, or anywhere. They use the “ask for 500, hope 20% show up”. Yep.

No cop ever calls you to say pay the fine over the phone.

TOB January 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM

With Caller ID I screen every call and only take them from those I know. I don’t care if it shows IRS not welcome not answering so Unknown, or any other name not friend/family, never reach me so never a threat. Trust nobody by phone or email and you’ll do well. If it were legit don’t you think they know where to go find you?

Cassandra January 9, 2014 at 2:14 PM

I show up for jury duty, and have never gotten a traffic ticket (yet….lol), so I guess they’re not looking for me.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re targeting the elderly. Or gullible people in general.

Throw the book at them!

captainfantastic January 9, 2014 at 2:15 PM

And if you buy that, I’ve got nice beach front property in Arizona for sale!

Ms. Kitty January 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Another brainless scam? Go figure.

Dorothy January 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM

@Screams scam – actually the judge can set up an arrest warrant for people that don’t show up for jury duty – I’ve been in the court as they did it for each person called that didn’t show. But please make sure you are not pulled over for some traffic violation because the warrant will show up in the records.

Justin January 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Hang up, and call the police. Case closed.

Shirking my civic duty January 9, 2014 at 5:52 PM

I’m another one of those who throws away every jury summons and has never had an issue. And I get plenty of traffic tickets, so I’m pretty sure I don’t have any warrants.

Frank L. January 9, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Even if your think you might have skipped out on jury duty, or forgot to pay a traffic ticket, the reloadable prepaid card is a huge red flag.

Come on people, don’t fall for this.

Larry January 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Anyone stupid enough to fall for this scam must have voted for our current President into a second term.

Atticus Thraxx January 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Warrant Unit? Go get a pre-paid card? Lieutenants doing work? When pigs fly.

Nick January 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Yeah he’s got the scam all wrong, he needs to be saying that he’s from the court house…that’s where the real scammers are anyway.

Nicole January 9, 2014 at 9:07 PM

This is sad. Do people really fall for this?

The first thing I think of when it comes to a scam is the elderly. I doubt the elderly have traffic warrants, and they probably don’t blow off jury duty either. I guess they could.

Reloadable cards? I better rush right to the store in case they call why my husband is out of town on business.

Craig January 9, 2014 at 10:13 PM


Screams scam. January 9, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Dorothy January 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM

“actually the judge can set up an arrest warrant for people that don’t show up for jury duty – I’ve been in the court as they did it for each person called that didn’t show. But please make sure you are not pulled over for some traffic violation because the warrant will show up in the records”

Well, Dorothy. You are wrong. I know. I don’t get PICKED for JURY DUTY and I KNOW there is never a warrant entered into the system. Have you been following the DA’s office and the whole category of cases (criminal) they don’t file on? They give out probation like it’s candy at Halloween. Most stuff, unless SERIOUS, is NCF’ed. Or sent to diversion. Hear about the state flushing their toilet of convicts back into the count jail system? Got a clue as to how long it takes to get a courtroom for a civil case in Contra Costa? (Two to three YEARS). It’s called MEDIATION SERVICES and court appointed referees.

Craig January 9, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Currently on KTVU. People in San Leandro and Martinez are the latest to come forward.

As the officer said, “just hang up.”

CCCSO Warrants January 10, 2014 at 7:22 AM

@Screams scam and @Shirking my civic duty, you both are extremely lucky you haven’t had a warrant out for you arrest. I work for the Records and ID unit for the Sheriffs office and enter the warrants issued by the Court, and they do in fact issue warrants for those who fail to appear for Jury Duty.

Now they don’t actually use every person or every group that is assigned for Jury duty, but if your group was picked and you no showed… Warrants are issued.

. January 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Well, I’m gonna have some fun with those idiots if they call me!

Antonio January 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

People will fall for anything.

Just hang up. Be nice about it, or they’ll continue to call.

. January 10, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I love how folks claim to be experts on something, then get showed up/slapped down by the true experts!

Thank you, CCCSO Warrants! Maybe.more warrants should be issued for the likes of the above, so they can really see how the system works!

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