Police: Scam Targets Registered Sex Offenders

The scammer threatens arrest if payment isn't made.

August 06, 2018 - 12:25 pm

ROCHESTER (WWJ) - A new scam targets a uniquely vulnerable population ... registered sex offenders. 

According to police, two very similar incidents happened to two different Rochester Hills men, both registered sex offenders in the state of Michigan. 

In the first case, the victim, a 59-year-old registered sex offender, was contacted by a person claiming to be a sergeant with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department alleging an investigation into the criminal sexual assault and demanded the victim purchase gift cards immediately to post a bond of $1,500. The victim remained on the phone with the suspect and complied with his demand, but was only able to purchase $500 worth of Google Play cards.

The victim, from Rochester Hills, realized something was not right and contacted the police. When a deputy arrived to take the report the victim got another call demanding more 'gift card' payments. This time the deputy picked up the phone and pretended to be the victim's brother - the caller eventually hung up. 

Police say that the "first phone number used is similar to the phone number used by the Pontiac Substation.  The phone number that was used during the second telephone call belongs to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office information line 248-858-5000 and was obviously cloned by the suspects."

The other incident, which happened on Aug. 1, the victim, 60-years-old, also from Rochester Hills, was contacted by a person who claimed to be a sergeant from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.  The victim did not answer the initial telephone call and the suspect left a voicemail requesting that the victim return his phone call and provided a phone number. When the victim called back he was led on the same scam of purchasing gift cards and giving the serial numbers of these cards over the phone.

The alleged sergeant was also able to provide the victim’s SID number, FBI number, Prison Identification Number, State of Michigan Sex Offender Registry Number, (all of that information is available on the state of Michigan’s’ OTIS website) the total amount of money in his bank account, and other personal information. Police do not know at this time how the victim’s bank information was obtained.

In this case, the victim's neighbor, a police officer, took a call from the suspect and when he identified himself as a cop - the scammer hung up. 

Authorities are issuing this warning for all residents:

The public is again reminded that law enforcement or the IRS will not call you on the phone and demand that you pay money in order to avoid arrest.  If you receive any such phone calls immediately call your local police department or Sheriff’s Office that patrols your community to report it.

If you have any information that could help police find these scammers - you are asked to contact Oakland County Sheriff's Department.