Cook County

Phone Scam Where Caller Pretends to Be Sheriff's Office Targets Chicago-Area Residents, Officials Warn

A new phone scam aimed at Chicago-area residents uses a caller acting like an employee of the Cook County Sheriff's Office, using a number that looks like it's from the Sheriff's Office, officials warned Wednesday.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said the scammer either says the call is related to a "legal matter," such as "missing jury duty," or that a person will go to jail if they don't turn themselves into police custody.

"The scammer utilized a “spoofing app,” which is a mobile app used to create fake calls and text messages. The caller also knew and used the potential victims’ names, likely to sound more legitimate in order to obtain sensitive personal information or money," a release said.

The Sheriff's Office doesn't notify people of either matter by phone, the release said, nor does the office call to ask for money.

Here are some tips from the Sheriff's Office to avoid being the victim of the scam:

  • If you believe a call is suspicious, immediately hang up
  • Never give personal information such as Social Security numbers or bank account numbers over the phone
  • If a caller claims to be from a specific public agency, hang up and call that agency directly to determine whether there is a legitimate reason to contact you
  • Do not use any phone number given to you by the caller

If you receive this scam call, officials ask that you call (847) 635-1188.

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