Crime

Got a call from a sheriff’s lieutenant about a warrant? Here’s why you should NOT panic

In March, more than a dozen Whatcom County residents reported receiving fraudulent calls phone calls that demanded money for missing jury duty.
In March, more than a dozen Whatcom County residents reported receiving fraudulent calls phone calls that demanded money for missing jury duty. MCT

Someone is impersonating a deputy with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said a man has been calling area physicians, and other residents in the county, identifying himself as Lt. Steven Gatterman of the sheriff’s office.

Indeed there is a Lt. Steve Gatterman at the sheriff’s office, “but someone is impersonating him,” according to the news release. Deputies have tried to catch the impostor in sting operations, but the suspect did not show up for “meets,” sheriff’s authorities said.

The fake lawman “informs the physician or other potential victim of a ‘debt’ or a ‘warrant’ and asks for funds to resolve it in lieu of arrest,” sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

The sheriff’s office does not contact anyone over the phone to collect debts or resolve warrants, so authorities strongly urge residents not to “attempt to tender funds if contacted,” by the man posing as Gatterman, or anyone claiming to be law enforcement.

The sheriff’s office also has notified the Whatcom Medical Society.

In March, more than a dozen residents reported receiving fraudulent calls phone calls that demanded money for missing jury duty.

The caller claimed to be affiliated with law enforcement – and used the name Jason Cook or Ryan Thompson. The scammer told the victims they’ve missed jury duty, then asked for $500 to settle the “violation,” and avoid arrest.

Anyone who receives such calls should hang up immediately.

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