Scams targeting people on the registry are becoming more and more prevalent. Because of the wealth of personal information publicly available through the online registry and the abundance of confusing requirements, persons on the registry are easy targets for scams. It’s very easy for the scammer to get enough details about the target to sound authentic and convincing. It’s also very plausible for the target to believe that they unknowingly ran afoul of some law – we are all a bit paranoid because of the registry.
There are two common scams we hear about. In both someone pretending to be from the local sheriff’s office calls the registrant and claims there’s a warrant for their arrest. Usually they demand money, paid through a stored value card (like a prepaid card bought at a convenience store) or for the person to meet them at a specific location (where they are robbed or assaulted).
This morning we received the following from a member:
I just had a call from a Deputy Davis saying there are two warrants out for my arrest for not showing up in front of a magistrate this morning. The guy said I had a registered letter sent to me October 1st and I never received one. He then proceeded to tell me I would have to pay $1000 bond at a kiosk that the sheriffs office has. This would keep me from going to jail tonight and they would reschedule the hearing. I thought this sounded kind of funny and asked for the address of the kiosk. He proceeded to give me the address, which I knew where it was. It is a Sunoco gas station. I told him that and I said I’ll call you right back. I called the sheriffs office and told them my situation. They said this guy has been targeting sex offenders and they are working on tracking him down.
You might want to let your members know about it. The name comes up on caller ID as Joel Frey LMT. The number has no area code but is 355-7212. I returned the call using the 321 area code and he left an extension number of 701.
Earlier this month another member got a call from 954-284-1300, the person said he was “Major Steve Johnson from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Sex Offender Registration Unit” and attempted to scam him.
Here’s what you need to know and do:
- As scary and stressful as these calls are to receive, recognize they are a scam.
- As for their name, a phone number where you can call them back and then dump the call. The scammers might insist you stay on the phone or they will come and arrest you or threaten you in some other way – take heart in knowing this is a widely known scam and not how law enforcement operates when executing a warrant.
- Call your County’s registration office (not the number the caller gave you, but the number on this list) and tell them what happened. They will confirm it’s a scam.
- Call your local (city) police department and tell them you want to file a police report. This is important – we want to catch the scammers and put an end to the victimization. If enough people file complaints they may actually do something to investigate this scam.
- Let us know so that we can share this information with others. Many potential victims contact us to let us know they were targeted but thanks to the information disseminated on our site, they were hip to the scam and didn’t fall victim.