Sheriff warns law enforcement will never ask for funds over phone

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Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard warned residents not to fall for the latest telephone scam, which uses the sheriff’s office name and fictitious command staff to target registered sex offenders.

 “This is just another variant of all of the scams that we are seeing,” Bouchard said. “The common thread is someone in a purported position of authority demands immediate monetary action on your behalf to avoid an arrest or some other feared action. This is a scam. You will never be asked to provide immediate money over the phone or via similar conveyances like bitcoin or green dot cards by real government employees.”

 In this most recent example, a man whose name is on the Michigan Sex Offenders Registry received a call from someone who identified himself as “Sgt. Kennedy” at the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office does not employ a person named “Sgt. Kennedy.”

 The phony sergeant told the man a warrant had been issued for his arrest because he had failed to respond to a certified letter requiring him to report for a “secondary DNA profile.” A $20,000 bond with a 10% provision had been set. To avoid arrest, the man could post $2,000 using virtual currency and a QR code “Sgt. Kennedy” provided for him.

 The man withdrew $2,000 from his bank account and sent the funds from a bitcoin ATM as instructed. The man was contacted a second time and told he would need to provide another $800 to clear up a federal warrant. A relative of the man was on the way to the Oakland County Jail with the money and called the sheriff’s office. The relative was told the transaction was a scam and to stop further communication with the suspect.

 The case is under investigation.

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