Authorities are warning the public of a phone scam where callers are told they have an active warrant and must pay immediately or otherwise face arrest.
In a news release Friday, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said his office has received a number of reports from throughout the county that a caller identifying himself as a sheriff's employee is telling victims there is an arrest warrant for them. To clear it, they are told, they must pay via prepaid debit cards or through a wire service.
The Sheriff's Central Warrant Unit does not make notification to those with active warrants over the phone. Also, no legitimate agency will request callers to make payments only via prepaid debit cards, according to the release.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of the scam:
• If you believe the call is suspicious, hang up.
• Do not send money to anyone unfamiliar to you.
• Do not give any personal information, such as social security or bank account numbers, over the phone.
• If the caller claims to be from a specific agency, hang up and call that agency to determine if there is a legitimate reason to contact you. Do not use the phone number the suspicious caller gives as the contact number for the agency.
• Cook County Sheriff's Warrants may be searched at www.cookcountysheriff.org under the Quick Links section.
Anyone who thinks he or she has been a victim of this scam or may have information about the perpetrators should call sheriff's police at (708) 865-4896.