Authorities warn of deputy sheriff phone scam

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff and requesting payment for a fine – just hang up the phone, according to Chief Sheriff David DeCesare.

DeCesare and R.I. State Police Col. Ann Assumpico on Monday issued a warning about an ongoing phone scam after the Division of Sheriffs received at least a dozen complaints from people in different communities.

According to DeCesare, the fraudsters are posing as deputy sheriffs and telling people they owe money for fictitious reasons, such as failure to pay for a citation or failure to appear for jury duty.

In some cases, the caller asked the person to meet them in the sheriff’s office parking lot, outside a courthouse or in another location. The caller sometimes used the name of a real employee of the Division of Sheriffs, according to DeCesare, and other times used a fake name.

DeCesare said the Division of Sheriffs doesn’t collect fines and even though deputy sheriffs make dozens of calls each day, they never seek or accept any payments.

If you receive one of these calls, DeCesare advised not to respond and said you can double-check the caller’s claims by contacting the Division of Sheriffs at (401) 275-2900.