‘Infuriating’: Scammers impersonate Summit County Sheriff’s deputies to rip people off over the phone

PARK CITY (ABC4 News) – Police in Summit County issued a warning after at least three victims have lost thousands of dollars in phone scams. Even worse, the thieves are posing as law enforcement officers.

It’s a call no one expects: someone identifying themself as a police officer tells you they have a warrant for missing jury duty or some other past offense and you will soon be arrested unless you pay a bond over the phone with a prepaid gift card. Lieutenant Andrew Wright of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office says beware because it’s an all-too-common scam.

“Government agencies, government agents will not call and demand payments over the phone,” Lt. Wright told ABC4 News Monday. “It’s just not the way government operates…and we don’t ever take gift cards as forms of payment.”

Those cards are untraceable so once criminals have the number and the PIN your money is gone.

Last Thursday, a 28-year-old woman gave $3,000 in Walmart & Best Buy Gift Cards to someone who said he was from the FBI and claimed she had warrants in Texas. 

On January 7, a 63-year-old woman from Park City was ripped off for $1,450 in Home Depot gift cards. That same day a 44-year-old woman was defrauded for $1,000 of Home Depot cards. Both times the caller impersonated deputies from Summit County.

“They’ve actually used our phone number so it makes it look legit,” Lt. Wright said. “They’ve gotten on our website and seen that there are people they can pose as.”

That makes these cases a priority for sheriff’s investigators.

“It is very infuriating that they are going to the level of using local law enforcement names that our community knows, using our phone number to scam people,” Lt. Wright said.

If you receive one of these calls, hang up and then call your local police – the real ones – to report it. 

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