The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office has a simple instruction for anyone who answers the phone and is greeted by a man identifying himself as Lt. Jackson of the warrant unit: Hang up.

A man pretending to be an employee of the Sheriff's Office has offered up that name in recent days in what the agency said is an attempt to scam people out of money. And an unknown number have been victimized by the man's strategy.

According to Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee, the caller identifies himself as "Lt. Jackson of the Warrant Unit," and threatens to arrest the person on the other end of the phone unless money is paid immediately. The caller tells his targets that they failed to appear for jury duty or for a traffic violation, and that the fines and feeds must be paid immediately or a warrant will be issued for an arrest.

The man says that payments can be made over the phone through reloadable prepaid cards that can be purchased at stores.

Lee said there is no Lt. Jackson employed by the Sheriff's Office and that no law enforcement agency allows the practice of avoiding an arrest warrant by paying through reloadable prepaid cards.

Lee said some people have been victimized by the strategy but did not specify how many.

After hanging up, anybody contacted by the caller is urged to call the Sheriff's Office at 925-335-1500 or any local police agency.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.



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