Sheriff Al Nienhuis is warning citizens that in spite of continued media coverage, scammers continue to attempt to prey on unsuspecting citizens.
Within the last few days, the Brooksville Police Department received a complaint from an elderly citizen who received a call from a male who identified himself as Sergeant Matt Ferris from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Department.
The individual (suspect) advised the elderly victim that his elderly and ailing wife had two warrants for her arrest for Failure to Appear and Contempt of Court. The suspect told the elderly male that if he went and obtained two Green Dot money cards for $395 and provided the card numbers over the phone, he would “make the warrants go away and set up a court date.”
The elderly male did as told. When contacting the number to receive the court date, the elderly male received a message stating he had contacted the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
Many agencies in the Tampa Bay area have taken reports from citizens who have received telephone calls from persons identifying themselves as law enforcement officers, attorneys, court representatives, long lost relatives, etc., that need to collect a large sum of money immediately.
If the person receiving the call does not pay immediately, the caller threatens to issue a warrant for a loved one of the person receiving the call. Often times, people panic and agree to pay the money.
HCSO says legitimate businesses do not operate this way, nor does law enforcement.
Police recommend if you receive a call like this, ask for more information. Obtain as much information as possible, and do not provide cash or credit card information, personal information of any sort or any other information. Do your research. Obtain a number to the “business” that the caller alleges to be from and call to verify their information.
Call your local law enforcement agency and request assistance in verifying the information that you have obtained.
If someone calls you stating they are from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office or the Brooksville Police Department, please call the main number to verify their employment and ask to be connected with them (352-754-6830). You will not receive a voice mail when calling this number. Again, neither of these agencies will call on the telephone to ask for or demand money.