Phone scammers say they are calling from Sheriff’s Office

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LAPLACE — Residents need to be alert, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre warns, after a victim recently fell prey to telephone scam artists posing as employees of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The victim told investigators the telephone number that displayed on her phone’s caller ID was 985-652-9513, which is a legitimate Sheriff’s Office number. The scam artists told the victim she needed to make a payment for bounced checks over the telephone.

“She made a payment over the telephone with a credit card,” Tregre said in a release. “Ten days later she received a call, and the caller said that he was with the St. John Sheriff’s Office (and asked) her to make her final payment. She told him that she could not do it then, but she would make payment on a future date.”

Tregre said the caller gave the victim a toll free telephone number, an extension number and a docket number to make her final payment.

After receiving several more calls from the same people, the victim went to the Sheriff’s Office to verify the caller’s employment with the Sheriff’s Office, Tregre said, adding after learning no one with either name was employed by the Sheriff’s Office, she reported the incidents for investigation.

The victim said the scammers identified themselves as “Mr. Michael Lee” and “Investigator Brown.”

Sgt. Dane Clement said the scammers could change those names, and residents should be cautious of any calls seeking payment.

Authorities said no one from the Sheriff’s Office will ever contact anyone by phone requesting payments over the phone.

“Telephone scam artists are always on the prowl,” Tregre said, adding they sometimes attempt to obtain money from individuals through their emotions by scaring them or telling them a family member is in need of help.

To report any suspicious calls, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 985-359-TIPS.