3 On Your Side

Alert: Scammers are posing as law enforcement

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Kathleen Brown is a personal chef and says while she was cooking recently, she got a disturbing phone call.

"This is Officer Ryan Abernathy from Maricopa County Sheriff's and we're calling you in reference to a federal grand jury summons."

The caller told Brown that she was going to be arrested by sheriff's deputies due to some outstanding warrants. However, the caller had an option. She could straighten out the matter by going to a local store like Walgreens, purchase a pre-paid credit card and load it with nearly $500.

She was then supposed to forward the card to them.

"I thought I was going to get arrested."

While on her landline, Brown picked up her other phone and dialed the number the scammer just gave her and this is what she heard.

“This is warrants and records division.”

Warrants and records division? It sounded official and Brown was supposed to leave her callback number.

If she had, another scammer would have called back and intimidated her into sending money or face arrest. Instead, Brown called 911 and said this chef had a recipe that smelled like a scam.

"This is a very popular, popular scam going on right now."

Sgt. Kelly Bocardo is with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and says her agency does not call anyone asking for money.

Bocardo went on to say in the past, their office has seen scammers use the name of former law enforcement officers and a serial number to trick victims into sending money.

Sgt. Bocardo says don't be conned and to tell family and friends so they're not scammed.

"Introduce yourself to a neighbor next door and just let them know this is what I heard on channel 3 today. You should do this to pass on the word. It's very important that not only do we try to deliver the message, but everybody delivers the message as a whole."

By the way, we're glad Brown didn't fall for it.

Scammers sometimes spoof their numbers to make it look like it's coming from a police department. Just remember, law enforcement agencies never call and ask to send money.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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