File Photo – Lake County Sheriff’s Office | Photo: Craig / Captured News

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a phone scam where an offender impersonates a sheriff’s deputy or sergeant and asks them for gift cards to satisfy fake warrants or civil paperwork.

The sheriff’s office announced they are investigating several of the cases in which the offender calls county residents and falsely identifies himself to be a Lake County sheriff’s deputy or sergeant.

The offender tells the caller that they have an active arrest warrant or that they have outstanding civil process paperwork, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said.

The offender is using the real names of sheriff’s employees and a spoofed phone number to make it appear the call is coming from the sheriff’s office.

“Sometimes the scammer provides the victim with the victim’s name and address, making the victim feel that the caller is a police officer,” Covelli said.

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The scammer then orders the victim to buy gift cards for them to satisfy the “warrant.”

They have also asked residents for sensitive information, like social security numbers and banking information.

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reminds the community that the government will never call and order you to pay money in the form of gift cards. If you receive an unsolicited call from anyone requesting money, you should be suspicious,” Covelli said.

“If a person claims to be a government agency, call that government agency first to determine the validity of the call, before discussing anything,” Covelli added.

Anyone who has been a victim of a scam is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.