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Sheriff: Phone scammers portraying law enforcement, demanding remittance for ‘unpaid tickets’


Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam issued a warning this week about a telephone scam that involves a caller pretending to be from the Sheriff’s Office and demanding the potential victim pay “unpaid tickets” immediately.

“We are thankful a potential victim called the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office which alerted us to this particular scam,” Balaam said in a statement. “There are many current scams where would-be crooks are pretending to be employees of the Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to steal a victim’s hard-earned money.”

Balaam said the Sheriff’s Office won’t call people for unpaid tickets, nor does it call individuals for an outstanding warrant. Sometimes phone scammers ask potential victims to settle their purported issue by purchasing a gift card and providing the P.I.N. information over the phone, he said.

Anyone who receives a phone call like this is encouraged to hang up and contact the Sheriff’s Office, Balaam said.

“Personal and financial information should never be given out over the phone unless you are one hundred percent sure of the caller’s credibility,” Balaam said. “It’s important for people to understand that if they are uncomfortable with a phone call, they can and should hang up without providing any information to the caller.”

No matter how aggressive a caller may get, Balaam said people are encouraged to get off the phone and verify the caller’s credibility independently.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam, or who receives such a call, is encouraged to take down as much information as possible, such as a name and call back number, without giving any information away, he said. Then, immediately contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.