New York

Scammers Pose as Deputies in Nationwide Trend

Criminals are cloning the phone number of the Orange County Sheriff's Department to try to con you out of cash.

The so-called "Telephone Taxes Due Scam" is spreading from Orange County and going nationwide, authorities said.

"I hung up in a panic thinking, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" said Anastasia Burkhardt, a victim.

Burkhardt said the man on the phone was angry, aggressive and identified himself as an Orange County Sheriff's sergeant.

"He was very rude, like, 'Oh do you think this is funny? Do you want to spend the night in jail?'" she said. "I was totally taken aback but believed I was talking to an Orange County Sheriff."

Burkhardt said there was nothing suspicious about the call.

She said they the man told her he was going to arrest her for not going to jury duty.

"He was very serious," she said.

Only, she knew she filed an extension. It was a scam.

"I was very scared at first," she said.

Hundreds of people from as far away as New York are getting the calls that appear to be from the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Lake Forest station.

Andrew Avila, an OCSD community services officer, said a man was berated.

"[They] scared him to the point where he had paid them $5,400 to get rid of the warrant," Avila said.

The callers threaten to arrest the victims for missed jury duty or being late on taxes. And since the callback number is the Sheriffs Department, people think it's legitimate.

"Don't ever discuss anything personal," Avila said. "It's your name. They're basically going to want to steal your identity."

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