OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahomans are still being targeted by a common imposter scam, where someone claims to be a Lieutenant with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and scares people into thinking they’re in legal trouble.
“It’s so convincing and horrifying, honestly,” said Taylor Powell, who was targeted over the weekend.
Powell told KFOR a man insisting he was “Lt. Holloway with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office” left her a voicemail on Saturday.
“Hi. My name is Lt. Holloway with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department contacting you today in regards to an important legal matter,” said the caller. “I do have some information I need to discuss with you. Please return my call immediately upon receiving this message.”
Startled and confused, Powell said she called the number back.
“I was like, ‘oh, my gosh, what have I done?’” said Powell.
Eventually, she talked to “Lt. Holloway.”
“He said, ‘Hey, get to somewhere private. You did not show up for jury duty last week…We now have three charges against you. Failure to appear, contempt of court and disobeying a judge’s orders. These are going to be misdemeanor charges on your record,’” said Powell.
The person on the other end of the phone also told Powell she was being fined a few thousand dollars and that she needed to head to the sheriff’s office.
“He gives me the address to the actual Oklahoma County [Sheriff’s] Department,” said Powell. “I asked for a badge number. He gave me one.”
However, she said alarm bells started ringing when he asked her to pay at least part of the fine over the phone. She eventually hung up on him.
“The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office— No police department, for that matter, will call you and demand payment over the phone,” said Aaron Brilbeck, a spokesman for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Thankfully Powell didn’t fall for it, but Brilbeck said this is unfortunately a scam the OSCO sees often. Powell added that her mother also got a call from “Lt. Holloway” this week.
“These guys are slick,” said Brilbeck.
His best piece of advice for anyone else who gets a call like this is to hang up and call the sheriff’s office directly.
“Ask us, we’re more than happy to tell you,” said Brilbeck. “There’s no reason to be embarrassed. Again, these folks are good at what they do.”