Phone Scammers Impersonating Lake County Officials Fool Residents

Andy Dahn
November 17, 2019 - 12:27 pm
Scam Chinese consulate

LAKE COUNTY, ILL. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Authorities in Lake County said a wave of scam artists have done their research... and their latest scheme is fooling some residents.

The scammers are turning to the real names of Lake County Sheriff's Office employees and even active judges, said Sgt. Chris Covelli.

"They're calling individuals throughout Lake County and claiming to be a Sheriff's Deputy," Covelli explained. "They then indicate that a Lake County judge, and they provide the real name of a judge, has issued an arrest warrant for them."

Victims are then instructed to purchase hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of "vouchers" or gift cards to avoid arrest, he said. 

"When you impersonate public officials or impersonate law enforcement in order to prey on individuals in the community, there is definitely an added charge. Certainly we don't take lightly to that," Covelli warned. 

But since the majority of scammers operate out of other states or countries, Covelli admitted that tracking them down is a challenge.

"Anytime somebody calls and tells you that you have an arrest warrant, what we would suggest is hang up the phone, call your local police department, explain what just happened and get to the bottom of it," he said. "Don't address it with the person who called you and initiated that phone call."