Sheriff's office warns of scam callers impersonating deputies
BATON ROUGE - 'Tis the season for scammers to target unsuspecting victims.
This week, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office was made aware of two different scams where someone claimed to be an EBR deputy and demanded money.
One audio recording obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit has the scammer delivering the following message.
"Hi this is Deputy Eric Turner with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. I'm here to notify you about an urgent legal matter that needs to be attended to at your most earliest convenience. This is in regards to... If you get back to me as soon as possible I would really appreciate it. You can reach me at..."
The Sheriff's Office said the voice on the other end is not one of their deputies. Last week, Attorney Jill Craft said a witness who she had subpoenaed to testify but was dismissed received a phone call saying there was a bench warrant out for her arrest for missing court. The witness who happened to be a doctor contacted Craft who verified there was no bench warrant and that it was a scam.
"When I called the person claiming to be the deputy and identified myself as a lawyer and wanting to know what this is about, because I've already contacted the judge's office and clerk's office and there's no warrant," Craft said. "I got a click, hung up on me instantly."
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said since 2015, they've notified the public 11 times about scams that have been targeting victims. One in particular targets those on jury duty. The Sheriff's Office said the jury duty scam is a national scam where inmates are using smuggled phones. The sophisticated nature of the scam that targeted one of Craft's witnesses is what has her speaking out.
"I want people to know if you have a warrant out or some type of contempt charge, sheriff's deputies and clerk personnel won't contact you on the phone," Craft said. "They will deliver papers to you or take you into custody, but they won't call you and ask you to pay them money."
The sheriff's office echoed what Craft said. If in doubt, you can always contact the sheriff's office or the clerk's office to verify what is being asked of you by phone.