File Photo – Lake County Sheriff’s Office | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Authorities are warning that scammers, claiming to be with the sheriff or court, have been targeting Lake County residents by claiming callers have a warrant for their arrest.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and 19th Judicial Circuit Court said in a joint statement Wednesday that the scam involves con artists calling residents and introducing themselves as a member of local government.

The scammer informs the victim that they missed jury duty and a judge has issued an arrest warrant for them.

The scammer then attempts to instruct the victim how to transfer money in order to avoid arrest.

The money is usually in the form of a gift card or “voucher.”

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said that neither the sheriff’s office nor the 19th Judicial Circuit Court would ever call a resident to request money.

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Lake County Government will not ask for or accept payment in the form of gift cards, Green Dot cards, Venmo or cryptocurrency.

Covelli said most of the time the scammers are operating out of other states or countries.

“The best course of action is to hang up and if utilizing a cellphone, block the caller’s telephone number from being able to contact you again. You may also file a report with your local law enforcement agency,” Covelli said.

Anyone ever doubtful of a government official contacting them by phone can always hang up and call back utilizing the known telephone number for the government office which contacted them.

Residents should never provide personal information if they did not initiate a phone conversation.

Anyone who believes they have been scammed should file a report with their local law enforcement agency.