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Phone app being used in calling scam, warns Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 5:22 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 6:06 p.m.

An old scam in which a caller demands immediate payment for such things as unpaid fines has added a new twist, Sedgwick County sheriff’s officials said.

Wednesday, a scammer was using a phone app that shows the caller ID of the the sheriff’s administration office, Sgt. Wayne Ruffner said. By late afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office began receiving calls from several people who said they were called from someone demanding immediate payment for unpaid fines, unsatisfied warrants or fines for missing jury duty.

“We never call people over the phone demanding money for fines,” Ruffner said. “It doesn’t work like that. We’ve seen a scam similar to this, but not one using a phone app.”

Those receiving the calls initially thought the request was legitimate because the caller ID showed 316-660-3900. That’s the number for the sheriff’s administration office.

There is a phone app that allows callers to select the number they want to display on caller ID, Ruffner said. He said he recently tested the app and found it worked.

“That’s quite bad,” he said.

Wednesday’s caller also instructed the person to get a money order at Dillons or a Green Dot prepaid card at Wal-Mart. The caller said a second call would be made to give the person instruction on what to do with the money order or card.

Ruffner took one of the calls from a woman who said she was headed to Dillons to get the money order and wanted to get the exact amount.

“I told her, ‘No, turn around and go back home because it’s a scam,’ ” Ruffner said.

The woman also told Ruffner that she had recently had her mail stolen from her house.

“So they probably had information on her and are using it,” Ruffner said.

Those calling are using different names, including one of a person who works in detention at the county jail.

“These people apparently have been in jail before,” Ruffner said.

Anyone who has been called on this scam is asked to call 911 or the sheriff’s investigation unit at 316-660-5300.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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