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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat joined Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson III in warning Oklahoma County residents about scams impacting area residents, after he was the target of a scam.

Recently, Sen. Treat says he received a fraudulent phone call from someone who claimed to be with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. They said he failed to appear in front of an Oklahoma County judge.

Treat told the individual he knew Sheriff Johnson and was going to call him. The individual immediately hung up the phone.

“I am fortunate to have the luxury of knowing Sheriff Johnson as a personal friend,” Treat said. “Not everyone is so lucky. If anyone else would have received the call I did, it wouldn’t have been out of the realm of possibility to become a victim of a scam. That is why I wanted to partner with Sheriff Johnson on this announcement, to warn Oklahoma County residents and help them recognize the scams that are going around and how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from becoming a victim.”

Sheriff Johnson said his office has seen an uptick in recent weeks in the number of individuals in Oklahoma County becoming victims to this type of fraud.

Johnson says, “The more light we can shed on this, the better.

As frauds are continuing to advance and become harder to spot. Sheriff Johnson says this scam is reaching people nationwide and wants to remind people that the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office will never call an individual to collect fines, fees or offer reduced payment methods, especially via gift card.

The Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule in September, 2022, to fight government and business impersonation scams, stating the problems have cost consumers “hundreds of millions of dollars over the past five years”, while adding that impersonation scams spiked at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scam would ban scammers from using government seals or business logos, spooking government and business emails and web addresses, and falsely implying government or business affiliations by using associated terms.

The Sheriff’s office is offering the following tips on how to avoid law enforcement scams:

  • Never give your credit card to someone claiming to be with the sheriff’s office over the phone;
  • Never agree to pay via gift card;
  • Don’t give in to bullying tactics by someone claiming to be with the sheriff’s office;
  • Talk to your family about this scam;
  • If you receive a call like this, hang up and call the actual sheriff’s office and ask to speak with someone.

If individuals become a victim of this scam, immediately contact the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office at (405) 713-1000.