Phone Scam Warning

NEWS RELEASE #: 17-043

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is warning citizens about a telephone scam in which a caller contacts them claiming to be a law enforcement officer issuing an arrest warrant or seeking payment for civic offenses.

This scam has taken a number of different forms but lately fake callers are claiming to be a Lieutenant or Sergeant with the sheriff's office, informing victims that they have an arrest warrant for not showing up at court, paying a fine, or skipping jury duty. The scammer claims that the victim owes money for these offenses and must issue payment immediately via cash or pre-paid debit card. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller want citizens to know that employees never make requests of citizens for payment of fines over the telephone and do not request personal financial information.

Before acting on an unsolicited phone call regarding an arrest warrant or paying civic fines, contact the sheriff's office at 941.861.5800 to confirm any such claims and whether an arrest warrant was issued.

Variations of the arrest warrant scam have been reported since 2005 in multiple states and warnings have been issued in Sarasota County for several years.