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Public Safety

San Diego Superior Court warns public of over-the-phone scam

In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, a person uses a smart phone in Chicago.
AP
In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, a person uses a smart phone in Chicago.

San Diego Superior Court officials warned Thursday of recent attempts by scammers to take money from members of the public by posing as court or law enforcement officials over the phone.

The scams highlighted by the court in a recent announcement typically involve individuals asking for money orders or cash in order to resolve outstanding warrants, failures to appear for jury duty, or other court-related fines and fees.

In one such scam, someone claiming to be a member of the San Diego Police Department, sheriff's office, or the court system, calls someone to inform them that they have been fined. If the payments are not made, the person will be arrested, the scammer often claims.

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The person is then told to obtain a money order or get cash, then meet someone outside the sheriff's office or courthouse in order to pay the supposed fine.

In some instances, court officials say the victim is told a money order is required because the court does not accept cash, checks or credit cards.

"People need to know that the court will not call someone on the phone to remedy a court issue or fine," said Michael Roddy, executive officer of the San Diego Superior Court. "The court will send you a written notice; it will not call you asking for money. In addition, the court also accepts checks and credit cards so no one should be insisting you pay a fine in cash."

Court officials suggest those who receive a scam phone call should hang up or call law enforcement if the calls continue.

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