Whatcom County sheriff warns about scam phone calls targeting residents

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office warned Friday that more than a dozen people have reported receiving fraudulent phone calls from scammers claiming to be with the sheriff’s office who tell residents that their failure to appear for jury duty will cost them $500 “to avoid problems or arrest.”

“The caller is stating that they are law enforcement (sometimes using the names Jason Cook or Ryan Thompson) and that the person they have called failed to appear for jury duty,’ the sheriff’s office said.

“The victim is asked if they missed the jury notice, and then told that they need to pay $500 in bail to avoid further problems or arrest. Victims are directed to call 360-768-4552 extension 3 for further information. This is not a number associated with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. Suspects will often set up a fake recording stating that you have reached a law enforcement agency.”

The sheriff’s office said it wants to remind the public that warrants and court fines or payments are “never handled this way.”

“The best defense against these types of calls is to hang up and please never provide personal identifying information to callers soliciting your information,” the sheriff’s office said.