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Phone scam targeting registered sex offenders with fake warnings in Orange County

A phone scam in Orange County targeted registered sex offenders, prompting the Orange County Police Department to warn the community about the dangers of these calls.

On November 17, the sheriff’s office received two calls alerting them about the scam.

“The person was answering the phone and the caller would say, ‘There’s an arrest warrant for you, and you failed to show up and comply with the DNA order,’ which is something the sexual offender is aware of,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. Generally very concerned about bringing to the attention of law enforcement authorities.”

The scammers will then ask recipients to meet them in the parking lot of the mayor’s office and bring in $2,000 for someone pretending to be a sergeant.

This scam is part of a broader trend of scams affecting residents of Orange County. Blackwood said his department typically receives “at least seven (fraud calls) a week.”

There has been a scam targeting Duke Energy customers recently, with scammers issuing a stark warning to customers, according to Alicia Stimper, director of public information and special services for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“(The crooks said), your strength will be cut off and you have three hours – you haven’t paid the bill,” said Stimper.

Despite numerous reports emerging about scam calls, Temper said it’s rare for scammers to be caught because they can be difficult to locate due to caller spoofing. He also said that even if the callers are caught, they may not face a long prison term.

“Our courts have taken a real strong stand on non-convictions of nonviolent crimes and the collective wisdom is ‘Who do we help?’” Blackwood said. “Well, my feeling about this is that if we don’t have a deterrent to the behavior, the behavior is more likely to continue.”

Alex Carracciello, Public Information Officer for Community Safety at Chapel Hill Police and Fire Departments, noted that primary victims of scams tend to be more vulnerable, as do the elderly. He appealed to the community to search for these individuals.

“Our message to the people who live here will be: Be sure to check the seniors in your life so they don’t become victims of these scams,” Carrasciello said. “Have conversations about how they spend their money, what they do online, and the types of phone calls they get.”

Carrasciello noted that scams can also target young people. He noted that dating apps pose a potential risk to young people and advised them to exercise caution.

“Scammers usually take advantage of students’ interest in getting things for free or at low cost,” Carrasciello said. Scammers often lure students through social media posts. They may ask students to use popular mobile payment services to send them money for a deal.”

Blackwood shared some words of advice to the community on how to avoid falling prey to scam calls.

“The more someone encourages you to speed up, the more you have to slow down,” Blackwood said. “If you get a call and someone tells you you have three hours before the power goes out, it will take three hours and minutes to hang up and call your electric company. If someone calls you and says ‘I’m going to arrest you’… it will take two minutes to call the mayor’s office and ask Any officer there if there is an arrest warrant for you.”

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