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VSP: scammers targeting people on sex offender registry with fake threats of arrest warrants

The Virginia State Police and Suffolk Sheriff's Office have both warned about scammers who ask for money on gift cards to stop an arrest warrant.
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SUFFOLK, Va. — Scammers are using a different approach to steal money from Virginians, and both the Virginia State Police and Suffolk Sheriff's Office are urging individuals to beware.

According to the Suffolk Sheriff's Office, there are scammers going around claiming to be Suffolk County deputies and are showing up at various people's homes as well as calling them with threats of an "arrest warrant."

Officials said the scammers are telling the victims that they have to pay with a gift card or they must turn themselves in right away.

The Virginia State Police added context for who might be at risk - in a May 4 release, a spokesperson said these scammers were specifically targeting people listed on the Sex Offenders Registry.

"The phone scammers are calling offenders claiming to be a 'Lieutenant Johnson' from the Suffolk Sheriff's Office, claiming there is a warrant for their arrest for failure to provide a DNA sample," wrote Sgt. Michelle Anaya. "The phone fraudster claims that the warrant can be removed for a fee."  

The Sex Offenders Registry is under the jurisdiction of the VSP, and troopers will never accept payment (in any form) to stop an arrest warrant.

Here are the tips to staying safe:

  • Do not assume that your caller id is accurate when receiving calls. Many phone numbers can be masked.
  • Never share your personal information (including financial) over the phone unless you are certain of who you are talking to.
  • If you are uncertain about who you are dealing with over the phone, hang up and call the main number for the company that the scammer is claiming to be representing.
  • Report all fraud attempts to the Suffolk Police Department at 757-923-2030.

If anyone contacts you claiming to be a Suffolk County deputy and is asking for personal information, do not give it out. 

the Suffolk Sheriff's Office said it would never request that sort of information by phone or in person. You can call the sheriff's office at 757-514-7480 if you are uncertain about any calls you've received.