phone scam

The Sheriff’s Office is again alerting residents of phone scams that have inundated the country, including the Keys, after thieves have recently been calling people using the phone number for Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia’s office in the Upper Keys.

The State Attorney’s Office notified the Sheriff’s Office of the issue after several people, including at least one person from out-of-county, called the judge’s office back to see if they had any judicial business in Monroe County.

Those people did the right thing by hanging up and calling back. They soon found out they had been the targets of a scam, but were able to avoid being victims by using some common sense before giving any money to the crooked callers.

Scammers have been cloning legitimate law enforcement and other government office phone numbers in an effort to appear legitimate. Some residents have previously reported getting calls from someone posing as Sheriff Rick Ramsay. The thieves usually say you have a warrant for your arrest for missing jury duty or some other legal issue, and that you can resolve the issue by paying over the phone.

Never pay over the phone. Hang up and call the number back.

Notify law enforcement.

Never make any purchase or monetary transaction with/using gift cards online or via the phone. Gift cards are a giveaway you are being scammed.

Residents should never give personal, monetary or gift card information to anyone over the phone, in a text or an email— TO ANYONE REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY CLAIM TO BE — without first checking with that person, utility or government agency.

Anyone with information about any crimes should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477.

If a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com.

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