A Warning about scams

 This is from the Pinellas County Sheriffs Department:
Hello Neighborhood Watch Chairpersons, 
Please pass this along this information about scams. 
 
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detectives are encouraging the public to be on alert to recent phone scams occurring in Pinellas County. The suspects are calling residents in Pinellas County identifying themselves as a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sergeant or a Duke Energy employee.
 
In the case of the Sheriff’s Office phone scams, the suspect calls residents and falsely identifies themselves as a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sergeant. One suspect identified himself as Sergeant Jim Gaskins from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
 
The suspect informs the citizen that they have an outstanding warrant for missing jury duty. The suspect tells the citizen that if they don’t turn themselves in at the Sheriff’s Office, or pay the fines, they will be arrested at their residence.
 
The suspect instructs the citizen to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift card. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the gift card and claims that the warrant will be purged from the system once the money is paid. 
 
In the case of the Duke Energy phone scams, the suspect calls residents falsely identifying themselves as a Duke Energy representative and demands payment before the citizen’s power gets turned off. The suspect instructs the citizen to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift cards. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the card and directs them to provide the card information.
 
Detectives say there have been multiple incidents where Pinellas County citizens have been targeted using these scams.
 
***Please note: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Duke Energy will never call citizens requesting money over the telephone. Detectives advise citizens to not give personal information or account information over the phone, and call the Sheriff’s Office to report suspicious activity.  
 
If anyone has information on these scams or has become a victim they are asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200
 
Deputy Sean O’Brien

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