Information about New & Ongoing Scams
If you are contacted to pay for ANYTHING via GIFTCARD, you are being scammed
Throughout the years, Allegheny County residents have felt the wrath of online and phone scams which have amounted to thousands of dollars lost. Scammers continue to prey on resident of the county and throughout the United States. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to update this page with scams that we are receiving to keep residents in the loop of ongoing scams.
TIPS TO PREVENT FALLING VICTIM TO A SCAM CALL
- First and foremost, if anyone is contacting about a legal issue and request payment be made via gift card, prepaid card, or electronic payment methods, it is a scam.
- Even though the caller ID may say “Sheriff’s Office” or be a 412-350-XXXX phone number, scammers can spoof both.
- Never give out financial or personal information over the phone to anyone.
- If you never received a summons by mail, ignore the phone call or hang up and call the agency in question to confirm any questions.
- Missing court for any reason is not a felony, it’s a contempt of court issue. In turn, one would have to appear in court for a fine to be imposed.
- Government agencies do not conduct any business via text message.
UPDATES ON ONGOING SCAMS IN THE REGION
Our office has been advised that a person or persons has been making calls in our area in which they identify themselves as Sgt. Neil Hall from our office and proceed to inform the person receiving the call that they must transfer money to avoid being jailed. If you receive such a call hang up immediately.
Sheriff Kevin M. Kraus reminds everyone that his office will never solicit any kind of fine or court costs over the phone.
If you are contacted by phone, text or email, never give any personal information or financial information in return and never agree to transfer funds electronically to someone you don’t recognize.
Unidentified individuals have been calling people claiming that they are from Duquesne Light and telling residents that they are behind on their bill. Caller then claims that if the resident doesn’t pay immediately, caller will come to the residence to shut off the service. If you receive such a call you should hang up immediately.
Residents in our area reporting receiving a text on their phone that appears to come from the Post Office saying that a package address is wrong and includes a link to update their address. Clinking the link takes the user to a screen asking for credit card information in order to get the package delivered. Any such text received should be deleted immediately.
Several citizens have contacted the Sheriff’s Office today after receiving suspicious phone calls. The caller identifies himself as Sgt. David Lynch of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office automated number, 412-350-4700, appears on caller ID. The caller explains that the citizen missed a court appearance, and a warrant was issued for their arrest. In order to lift the warrant, they must pay a sum of money to the Office.
Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus wants residents to understand that the Sheriff’s Office does not operate this way. We do not accept financial transactions over the phone, nor do we accept gift cards as payment for court fees.
Please do not divulge any financial or personal information to the caller if you receive such a call.
The Sheriff’s Office has received several calls from individuals in the medical industry, who state that Sgt Neil Hall contacted them from 412-253-2916 about testifying as an Expert Witness. The caller claims that they missed an appearance in court and there is a warrant for their arrest. The caller then explains if they pay an amount of money, their warrant will be lifted. This is yet another scam plaguing the region. Please do not provide funding or personal information to anyone over the phone.
A citizen was contacted by a called claiming to be Sgt Ninehouser stating that they had legal documents that the citizen needed to receive. The number which they called was similar to Sheriff’s Office numbers. However they stated to call back on a different 412 number not associated with the Sheriff’s Office. Again, do NOT continue a call with people claiming to be deputies. Instead, call 412-350-4709 and explain the situation.
A caller claiming to Lt Mullen, from the Sheriff’s Office, stated the victim was in defiance of a expert witness subpoena and would need to pay $8,000 to have their warrants lifted. The call disconnected soon thereafter and the victim attempted to call back. However, they received a call from a Capt Stephens, who stated they would be handling the case as Mullen was gone for the day. The caller requested the funds be paid via gift card, which the victim retrieved from a local Giant Eagle and several Rite Aids. Furthermore, the caller stated they would have to provide proof of purchase by providing the gift card numbers to the caller. Upon doing so, Stephens transferred the victim to an Agent Meadows of State NCIC, who confirmed clearance of the warrants. However, the victim received a follow-up call from Agent Meadows, Special Agent In-Charge of FBI Buffalo who stated that they would need to provide an additional $5,000 to clear one of the federal warrants. Meadows stated that the victim would receive the funding back once they appeared in court. The victim then received a text message requesting the funds be paid via Apple Pay and the victim obliged paying the remaining balance.
Again, the Sheriff’s Office will NEVER ask for payment in the form of gift cards for anything.
Jessie Sanchez, who claims to be a constable, contacted a citizen on this date stating that she has a pending civil case against her from Fifth Third Bank in the amount of $3,000.00. Furthermore, he claimed that if she gave him this amount on Friday, he would clear the case and she would not be imprisoned.
Deputies received a call asking if we had a Sgt Miller that works for our office. We advised them “no.” The caller stated that an employee reported to them that “Sgt Miller” called them earlier in the day and left a message on their phone stating they have an urgent legal matter and to call him back. We do NOT have a Sgt Miller at the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.
Citizens have been stating that a Sgt Miller has been contacting them stating that they must pay a specific amount of money due to a missed court appearance from a subpoena for testifying in court. We do not have a Sgt Miller, nor would we contact you about such an instance.
A woman was contacted by a man claiming to be a supervisor at the Sheriff’s Office and that she was to pay a fine/fees related to jury duty to the Sheriff’s Office via gift cards. Again, the Sheriff’s Office will NEVER ask for payment for anything in the form of gift cards or vouchers.
Residents have been contacting the Sheriff’s Office that they have received calls where the scammer is stating that they have missed jury duty. In an effort to amend this issue, they are being told to go to the County Courthouse.
If you would like to discuss the scam call with a representative of the Sheriff’s Office, please call 412-350-4709. However, if you did not provide payment, you do not need to contact the office.