PUNTA GORDA — A Punta Gorda man reported Friday that he had received a call from someone claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office, demanding he pay a fine or he would be arrested. The call did not originate from the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies met with the 25-year-old complainant, who said he had received a call that morning from someone who claimed to be from an attorney’s office telling him that if he did not pay a bill that criminal charges would be filed. The caller ID came up as a toll-free number.
A couple of hours later, the man received another call from someone who claimed to be from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, also demanding that he pay the bill within 90 minutes or face criminal charges. The caller ID from that call showed as 941-258-3900, which is the correct number for the Sheriff’s Office’s District 4 office. The complainant called that number back and found that nobody had called him. The man said that only a few minutes later, he received another call from the “attorney’s office” saying that they knew he had been called by the Sheriff’s Office and again demanding payment. When the deputy called the toll-free number, he got a recording indicating it was not an active number. The deputy concluded that whoever was making the calls was able to manipulate the information displayed on the caller ID. Although there have been reports of similar types of scams in other counties where the callers have manipulated their caller ID, this report was the first such complaint filed in Charlotte County, at least recently. “The complainant in this case did what he should have done. He checked it out by calling our District 4 office,” Sheriff Bill Prummell said. “Nobody at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is going to call someone to demand payment like that.” Anyone who receives a call such as this one is reminded to confirm whom they are actually talking to, making sure it is a legitimate call so they don’t fall victim to a scam. If you think you are being scammed, call your local law enforcement agency to report the situation.
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