Olentangy Valley News

Latest scam: Fake deputy demands cash from seniors


A man claiming to be a Delaware County Sheriff's deputy has been attempting to scam the county's senior citizens out of money, according to law enforcement officials.

Seven residents of the city of Delaware reported someone claiming to be a deputy contacted them July 18 and told them they had warrants out for their arrest. The caller said the warrant would go away if the victim transferred money to him.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said none of the residents sent money to the scammer, although one man was on his way to the bank before he contacted authorities.

"Fortunately, the red flag went up in most cases," she said.

Whited said the scammer seemed to be targeting older residents in the city of Delaware.

"It's kind of sickening to think people are targeting the elderly," she said.

Although all of the victims live in the city of Delaware, the sheriff's office is taking the lead in the investigation because the caller was impersonating a sheriff's deputy.

Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore said two residents contacted the city's police department after receiving a call from a scammer. Moore said both residents were told they had a warrant out for their arrest after they failed to appear for jury duty.

Moore said the two departments do not yet know where the phone calls are originating from. He said the calls might be coming from another state or even another country.

"It's been my experience that a lot of these phone scams do end up originating far from our borders," he said.

The July 18 incidents are not the first time a scammer impersonating a law enforcement officer or legal official has targeted Delaware County residents this year.

A Powell resident lost more than $500 after a phony court official called to collect "fines" related to jury duty in February.

In early March, a Delaware resident called the city's police department to report a phone call from a man claiming to represent the Delaware County Police Department -- an agency that does not exist. The man claimed the woman needed to pay fines for missing jury duty or she would be arrested.

Later that month, men claiming to be lawyers conned a Delaware man out of $642 by threatening a lawsuit.

Officials advised residents to call their local law enforcement agency if they receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or legal official. They also stressed that actual police officers will not forgive arrest warrants for a cash payment.