On Tuesday, June 7, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department issued a fraud warning for the residents of the county, noting that scammers are now taking an unusual and disturbing approach to bilking people.

The bad guys are, a Tuesday press release from the department stated, pretending to be law enforcement officers in order to swindle them out of money.

“The sheriff’s office was recently made aware of phone calls made to defraud citizens of funds,” the press release stated. “It has been reported that the scam callers are claiming to be law enforcement officers and in some cases are using actual local law enforcement officers’ names from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department, some of these criminals claim that a person has missed a court date or missed a call to jury selection, and therefore a warrant has been – or will be – issued for their arrest, unless the person pays a fine immediately.

The caller attempts to arrange a meeting to get the payment.

According to the release, “These scammers often speak quickly and use an authoritative tone to put pressure on the citizen so he or she will agree to send money without question.”

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is now notifying county residents that the department’s officers never asks people to pay a fine by cash, credit card, PayPal, cash apps – and certainly not Target gift cards.

The Sheriff’s Department also does not conduct this type of business over the telephone, so everyone should be extremely cautious when getting calls like this.

Also, they should never provide any personal information or financial details over the phone. If a person thinks that they owe a fine, or if they have an inquiry about a warrant or a potentially impending arrest, they should call the department directly at  336-641-3690.

The Sheriff’s Department also offered the following advice to protect residents from scams:

  • Don’t answer a call from a number you do not recognize. Instead, let it go to voice mail and then listen to it later.
  • Don’t return one-ring calls from unknown numbers. If you do answer and it’s a robo-caller or you believe it to be a scam, hang up without saying a word. Don’t press any buttons or give out any information.

Also, here’s a list of things the Sheriff’s Department will never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the telephone.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal or financial information.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the telephone or through email.
  • Demand that you meet someone to make a payment at some place – other than the payment window at the Sheriff’s Department.