Phone schemers pose as RI Sheriff’s Office

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island State Police are warning residents about callers who are posing as the Rhode Island Sheriff’s Office.

State police said the suspects spoofed caller IDs to show the Sheriff’s Office phone numbers. The callers then told people they were wanted by the federal government and that they had to pay thousands of dollars to avoid being arrested.

“That’s not how the state executes search warrants or arrest warrants. They would knock on your door,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “They wouldn’t call you up and say, ‘hey, give us a credit card number and we’ll just take the money now, and squash the order.”

Residents in Warwick and Cranston said they got the calls, which came from the phone lines for both the Noel Judicial Complex and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Kilmartin said spoofing is a practice growing in popularity with criminals.

“They probably go on in the phone book, and say okay here’s the court number, in this case, for the sheriff’s office, and they get the phone number and they use the technology to duplicate that number and that’s what will show up on your caller ID,” he explained.

Both state and Cranston police are investigating.

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