Washington County Sheriff’s Office warns of phone scam; ‘Simply hang up’

Capt. Martin Schulteis

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be wary of a phone scam. Officials say the suspicious phone calls are being made by someone who claims to be a deputy.

"It's always the same thing. They're trying to take money from good, hard-working citizens. We started receiving numerous phone calls from residents throughout southeast Wisconsin," said Capt. Martin Schulteis of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office was notified on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The scammers are apparently identifying themselves by using actual names of deputies -- and had a rehearsed, cunning story lined up.

"That there's either outstanding civil warrants, bench warrants or some type of civil judgment that they needed to take care of over the phone financially," said Schulteis.

Officials said in at least one case, a citizen was told to go and purchase gift cards. The number that is provided to the citizens is constantly changing, but does go to a phone tree voicemail that claims to be the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

"This is the first time I can recall deputies' names; actual employees of ours being utilized," said Schulteis.

Officials do not believe anyone fell victim to the scam, but it will be tough to track down the scammers.

"They're spoofing the numbers. It goes to a phone tree. It could be out-of-state -- more than likely out-of-country," said Schulteis.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office does not typically call people on the telephone to tell them that they have a warrant. Officials said law enforcement would never advise anyone to go and purchase gift cards or solicit payment for a warrant over the telephone.

"Simply hang up. If law enforcement needs to get hold of you, we will be knocking on your door -- not calling you," said Schulteis.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an officer, you are urged to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 262-335-4378.