Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scammers posing as law enforcement in phone calls, Pinellas authorities say

CLEARWATER — Detectives at the Clearwater Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are investigating phone scams by callers posing as law enforcement officers.

The scam was first reported to Pinellas deputies Tuesday. So far, three cases have been identified this week by the Sheriff's Office. Businesses and homes have received phone calls from people using a "spoofing technique" to make the call appear it is coming from the Sheriff's Office non-emergency phone line.

The caller poses as a Sheriff's Office detective and tells victims they have an outstanding warrant from the Department of Justice or the U.S. Department of Treasury. If they don't pay a fine, the caller continues, they will be arrested.

The callers, whom detectives describe as men with foreign accents, then tell victims to send money through prepaid credit cards or a money gram.

In Clearwater, detectives are working similar cases, where a man who identifies himself as Richard Hamilton calls residents and states he is with the "Florida State Police." He advises them to call another number, where another person tells them they should make a payment on money owed on back tax returns, police said.

Anyone with information in the Sheriff's Office cases is asked to call Sgt. Tim Kelly at (727) 582-6200. Clearwater residents are asked to call police at (727) 562-4424.

Scammers posing as law enforcement in phone calls, Pinellas authorities say 10/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Dry, muggy conditions for Tampa Bay before severe storms, possible tornadoes arrive ahead of cold front


    Tampa Bay residents can expected a muggy, dry day Tuesday ahead of a cold front and a string of severe storms slated to arrive late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Islamic State group claims responsibility for Manchester blast after Ariana Grande concert

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  3. Five recipe ideas for cooking with sparkling wine


    With high school and college graduation season upon us, you might find yourself stocking up on sparkling wine (if you don't normally). Though the obvious choice is to drink it all, you may find yourself with leftovers after all the parties are over. These five recipe ideas will use up that grad-friendly bubbly so …

    Sparkling Wine Risotto takes risotto up a notch.
  4. Florida education news: Budgets, principals, vouchers and more


    VETO TIME? Gov. Rick Scott weighs advice on whether to reject the Legislature's education budget. • Pasco County school officials