SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- It's a phone call from an unknown number, once you answer the person on the other line identifies himself as a sheriff’s deputy, gives you a badge number and claims you’re in deep trouble for not showing up to jury duty.
While everything about this phone call seems legit, the San Joaquin County’s Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office say it’s a scam.
“There’s too many of those scam stuff going on nowadays,” Farmington resident Bill Judson said.
Last week, in the tiny town of Linden, according to neighborhood watch reports, a woman received a call from a stranger posing as a deputy named Mark Bowens. He then gave her a fake badge number, the name of a real judge and said she owed them thousands of dollars for skipping out on jury duty. She hung up but the scammer didn’t stop there. The fake deputy called her cell phone, he even knew where she lived.
“Scary. I mean people are doing everything now,” said Linden resident Lisa Lagorio.
The DA’s office says the scammer then demanded that she purchase “Green Dot MoneyPaks” to pay for her $2,500 citation. Instead, she called the sheriff’s department to report the fake deputy.
Families in San Joaquin County say they’re not surprised that scammers would stoop so low. Their solution?
"I just don’t answer the phone,” Judson said.
“Just be safe and be smart, and just don’t give them money,” Lagorio said.
Don’t answer the phone don’t give anyone your cold hard cash.
These phone calls may seem real, but the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office will never ask for money over the phone. And if you do have a citation, you will get something in the mail.