Beware of phone scammers posing as an employee of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. So far, six people have reported receiving the bogus phone calls to the Sheriff’s Department’s non-emergency line on Saturday, Oct. 30.

To sound convincing the caller identifies himself as Lieutenant Hartman. The storyline involves a missed court appearance. He demands the person come alone to Sheriff’s Department Headquarters located at 9621 Ridgehaven Court in Kearny Mesa immediately. He also makes a threat, claiming the issue will escalate into a criminal matter if the person fails to show up. Those who reported receiving the call say they heard a robotic voice or a computer recording instead of a real person.

This is a scam.

To be clear, the Sheriff’s Department does not employ a Lieutenant Hartman. The Sheriff’s Department main office is also closed on weekends. Impersonating a Sheriff’s Deputy is a violation of state law.

The Phone Call: To sound believable, scammers will use a real employee’s name or Sheriff’s Department telephone number which can be found online. They will also use Caller ID “spoofing” to appear as though the call is coming from a Sheriff’s Station, Substation, jail or court offices. 

The Scare Tactic: The caller will try to intimidate you.  They will threaten you with lawsuits, jail time or arrest if you don’t pay them or take immediate action. 

The Hook: These scams play on your fears.  You want to be a law abiding citizen and you surely don’t want to end up in jail so in a panic you end up giving your personal information or money to defuse the situation. 

The Facts: Outstanding warrants cannot be resolved over the phone or at Sheriff’s Department headquarters. Warrants can only be cleared through the court. People with outstanding warrants are urged to turn themselves in Monday through Friday during business hours at any one of the Sheriff’s Court Facilities. To check if there is a warrant out for your arrest, visit sdsheriff.net.

Confirm jury service by contacting the Superior Court of California.

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