Warrant phone scam hits Spokane County


Spokane County Sheriff’s Office officials are advising the public to be careful regarding a phone scam perpetrated in their name.

According to a news release the SCSO administrative office has taken calls over the past 2-3 months from citizens receiving phone calls where the caller identifies themselves as being from the Sheriff’s Office. The caller then says that the citizen has outstanding warrants for their arrest and a relative or spouse may be charged for harboring a wanted person. The caller then tells the citizen that the situation and their record can be cleared if the citizen pays a fee.

Public information officer Dep. Craig Chamberlin said in the release that “the Sheriff’s Office has never and will never make these types of calls.” Individuals with warrants can only take care of them by contacting the court in person.

Chamberlin said the main issue regarding the calls is the caller ID listed is that for the Sheriff’s Office administration office. It’s a practice the Federal Communication Commission refers to as “spoofing,” where callers deliberately falsify their telephone number and/or name replayed through caller ID to disguise the identity of the calling party.

The FCC has numerous rules and regulations on how callers requesting information, such as telemarketers, must identify themselves. The only exemption is for “authorized activities by law enforcement agencies and situations where courts have authorized call ID manipulation to occur.”

Chamberlin said the Sheriff’s Office never contacts individuals to advise them to clear any warrants. The release also noted that the Spokane Better Business Bureau office knows of similar scams perpetrated in the name of other law enforcement agencies in Washington.

Victims of this type of scam should report it by calling Crime Check at 509-456-2233.


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