Scammer tries using Sheriff's Office to extort money

For the second time in a month, someone has tried to scam a victim out of money using the Monroe County Sheriff's Office as part of the scam.

Monday, a Marathon resident reported to the agency that someone called him and said there was a warrant out for his arrest. The caller said if the victim didn't send a $503.98 MoneyGram, he would be arrested Tuesday.

The call came from the Sheriff's Office substation in Marathon, Deputy Becky Herrin said, though the phone number could have been spoofed on a throw-away phone.

While Detective Bobby Burkett took the report from the scammer's target, the scammer called back -- and Burkett answered. When he identified himself, the caller hung up, Herrin said.

Why would the caller ask for such a random amount of money? "I think these scammers think that if they don't use an even number it will be more convincing," she said.

She said a similar incident played out in the Upper Keys last month -- but the intended target was a Sheriff's Office jail guard.

"They were calling someone who works in our jail," Herrin said. "That person reported it and the guys in the Upper Keys called the number. [The scammer] actually told the detective he was going to be disciplined for insubordination."

Of course, such calls are always scams. No law enforcement agency, utility or the Internal Revenue Service would make such calls.

If you receive a call and think it's a scam, call the Sheriff's Office at 289-2351.