Thieves targeting seniors, posing as MCSO employees

- There is a warning from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office about thieves posing as Sheriff's Office employees. It's a new twist to the jury duty phone scams that have been targeting Valley senior citizens over the past few years. This time, thieves are claiming to be real Sheriff's Office employees, saying they have warrants to arrest people for not showing up for jury duty unless they pay money.

In this case, they posed as the MCSO Media Relations Officer, so when the victim called MCSO to verify the name of the officer she was given, she thought it was legitimate. She wired close to $4,000 thinking that is what she had to do to avoid going to jail.

"They threaten, they make you fearful, they're very convincing," said the woman.

The woman targeted does not want to be identified, but she does want her story out there. Two weeks ago she got a phone call, the caller ID was blocked, the caller told her he was Chris Hegstrom from the MCSO.

"They said there's a warrant out for your arrest because you didn't respond to a summons, and you are in contempt a court, and each carries a fine. I said you're kidding; I didn't get anything. He says well you signed it. All I could think about was I don't want to be arrested, I don't feel good, I can't imagine not feeling good in jail," said the woman.

She called MCSO to verify if Hegstrom worked for the Sheriff's Office; he does since he's the media relations officer.

"I'm not calling anybody, I have no need or desire to call anybody regarding a warrant, so please understand that MCSO is not going to call you asking for money," said Hegstrom.

After several harassing phone calls, she ended up wiring more than $3,500 to what she thought was MCSO's headquarters in Tennessee. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he is upset that his officers' names are being used to rip people off.

"We will never call, and I'm gonna tell everybody that if anybody calls you saying they're from the Sheriff's Office to hang up on him," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

And the victim has a message for the thieves who conned her.

"Someday, somewhere, you'll get yours, and I actually pray for them a little," said the woman.

Arpaio says his investigators are working to track down the scammers. Thieves have been targeting senior citizens in retirement communities like Sun City, Fountain Hills, and Sun Lakes.

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