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Sheriff: Ontario County residents targeted by sophisticated phone scam

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Ontario County has reported an uptick in phone scams with callers impersonating law enforcement officials, including a case where the scammer claimed to be from the US Customs and Border Patrol. The victims were told they had arrest warrants and were instructed to send large sums of money to avoid detention. In one instance, a victim was directed to deposit over $15,000 into a Bitcoin machine in Erie, PA, under the threat of arrest by a supposed deputy from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Another reported incident involved a scammer posing as a sergeant from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, who falsely claimed the victim had failed to appear for a court date and owed $50,000, demanding an immediate payment of $5,000. These scammers have used sophisticated techniques such as spoofing their phone numbers to appear as legitimate county government contacts.

Sheriff David Cirencione has issued a warning to residents, reminding them that no genuine law enforcement agency would solicit payments over the phone for warrants. He urges anyone receiving such calls to report them to 911 immediately and avoid sending any money.

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