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Lackawanna County Sheriff warns of phone scam

Deputies have received hundreds of calls this week regarding the scam.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — The Lackawanna County Sheriff's office has been inundated with calls this week.

People are being hit with a phone scam that looks like it's coming from the Sheriff's Department. 

"I would say six out of ten calls are in reference to these scams," said Deputy Vincent Scipione.

Lackawanna County Sheriff's deputies tell Newswatch 16 the scam callers appear to have done their research.

"They've been actually using staff members' names, and they've been using our actual phone number," Sheriff Mark McAndrew said.

The scammers threaten arrest for a missed court hearing and ask the people to send thousands of dollars or be sent to jail.

"One person, in particular, was scammed out of $7,000. They're very believable and very intimidating," McAndrew added.

The calls appear to come from an office inside the Lackawanna County Courthouse, and if you call the number back, you'll get a voicemail message appearing to come from a real member of the sheriff's department.

Deputies are echoing something often heard in reference to scam calls—the department would not handle business over the phone.

"If anybody has a warrant through the county, all of that is done in person. We will come to you for that, that is not something we will call and threaten about. We would never conduct business like that as a sheriff's office. Neither would any, honestly, in the Commonwealth," Scipione said.

Deputies fear this scam will spread around the state.

"I could see it probably happening in other counties pretty soon as soon as it stops working here, so definitely just start spreading the information," Scipione added.

The deputies told Newswatch 16 they're taking reports from all of the people who call their office saying they were scammed and referring everything to federal investigators since the scam calls are likely coming from out of state.

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