Whiteside County Sheriff John F. Booker has issued a news release asking people to beware of the Arrest Warrant Scam.

“We’ve recently received several reports of the Arrest Warrant Scam,” Booker says in the release.

Here’s how it works: Scammers create a fake caller ID, which allows them to call you and appear to be calling from a local police, sheriff, or other law enforcement agency, even using the name of one of our actual deputies.

The scammer says there is a warrant out for your arrest, but that you can pay a fine to avoid further criminal charges.

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“The Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office WILL NOT call, text, or email anyone demanding a form of payment, especially by bitcoin, and or gift cards. We prefer knocking on the door, and serving these warrants in person,” Booker says.

If you receive a call from these scammers do not give them any personal information, and certainly do not make a payment over the phone or through a kiosk, he advises. “If you receive a call like this, and you’re still not convinced it is a scam, contact your local authorities directly,” Booker says. .

Here are some other ways these con artist work:

  • The scammer says you’ve won a sweepstakes or lottery but you must send money to collect.
  • The scammer says your assets are frozen until you pay a fake debt, fine, or lien.
  • The scammer says he’ll help you recover money you already lost in a scam.
  • The scammer says she’s collecting back taxes or immigration fees.
  • The scammer threatens to fine you, put you in prison, or take your property unless you pay.
  • The scammer says they’re protecting you from being scammed.
  • The scammer tells you to take money out of your bank account, tells you to wire money, get a gift card, or buy cryptocurrency.
  • The scammer demands secrecy, tells you to act right away, and says you’re about to lose money.

If a scammer contacts you, your report can help stop them by going to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Share as much information as you can, including:

  • • The date and time of the call
  • • The person and agency name the scammer used
  • • What they wanted you to do, pay, or share, including amounts
  • • The phone number that showed up on your caller ID. Even a fake number can help law enforcement track the scammer.