MAXATAWNY TWP., Pa. — A Berks County man has lost thousands of dollars to a telephone scam.
The Maxatawny Township man reported that someone claiming to be a Lehigh County sheriff's deputy called and told him that he had a warrant for his arrest, according to the Pennsylvania State Police.
The 63-year-old victim said he was then told he could avoid apprehension by paying $3,500 over the phone, which he did, the police said.
The purported deputy then hung up the phone.
Such telephone scams are nothing new. Lehigh County Sheriff Joe Hanna posted a warning about them to his office's website in 2019. A link to it can still be found on the homepage.
"Under no circumstances would deputies collect monies during the course of our everyday business," Hanna said in the warning. "Telephone scam artists continue to victimize citizens with various confidence schemes. They are well versed in their script and are prepared to answer any questions in a most authoritative and convicting manner."
Hanna said anyone who wishes to verify a questionable call relating to his office can call 610-782-3175.
Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht has shared similar warnings with the public about scams involving people posing as members of his office to obtain money.
He posted these tips on Facebook in October:
- Under no circumstances should a resident ever provide any personal information by phone when receiving any calls unless the resident personally knows the caller.
- Never provide credit card information, social security number., date of birth, bank information to anyone.
- Note the telephone number of the caller.
- Disconnect without providing any information to the caller.
- Call the office of the Berks County Sheriff at (610) 478-6240 if a resident has any concerns that he or she may be a wanted person or to inquire if the sheriff's office has any reason to contact you.