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Sheriff’s Office warns against phone scam

Local authorities are warning the public about a public safety scam making its away around the area, with one resident saying she almost lost $2,000.

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says they have received reports from residents that someone is calling from a non-county number claiming to be Lt. Eric Sanborn from their office and asking for personal information.

One woman who spoke to GIGO News, said she nearly became a victim of the scam after receiving a call from a Stockbridge number, that left a voicemail message that said, “Hi, good afternoon, this is Lieutenant Eric Sanborn, badge number 2890. I’m contacting you from the Livingston County Sheriffs Office. We’re looking to make initial contact with a citizen by the name of (their name), if I’m pronouncing that correctly. This is in regards to an urgent matter which requires your immediate attention, so once again you can call back to my field device at 517-565-0030 and once again the number being 517-565-0030. I look forward to hear from you soon and have a good day.”

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she called the sheriff’s office directly to verify that Lt. Sanborn worked for them and that the correct badge number had been given.

“They confirmed that he did and transferred me to his extension,” she told GIGO News. “He didn’t answer, so I sent a text to the initial number that called me and he called back quickly.  He informed me that I’d no-showed for jury duty that morning in Judge Hatty’s courtroom for a federal case. He said the notice had been sent out back in May (which oddly enough is when my son got his actual jury duty summons), and I told him that I hadn’t received it.  He asked if I ever have problems with not getting my mail and I told him that I do, I’m a West and I’m always getting the mail for East, as well as the same number for the next street over.  He said I would be able to explain that to Judge Hatty, who was going to Zoom with me and ask me why I no-showed.”

She said he informed her that now had a pending charge, which would mean if she come into contact with anyone from law enforcement, they would arrest her and that she would have to pay a surety bond to make sure that didn’t happen. He then said there were four charges overall, two for failure to appear and two for contempt of court, and because this was a federal case, one set of charges was local and one set was federal.

“Each violation was $500, amounting to a total of $2000,” she said.  “First he just told me about the local set of charges, I sent him the $1000 via Venmo to @courtprocess, then he told me about the federal charges, so I sent another. In my defense, I’d been in the ER with my youngest son and was working on three hours of sleep, I was super groggy).  Then he said I should be receiving a refund via Venmo that would release once I was done with the judge.  But when I received it, it said “pay” and even my groggy ass was smart enough to figure out what was going on at this point.  I told him it wouldn’t go through and when he put me on hold, I put him on hold and called the real sheriff’s department and told them what was going on.  I’m so embarrassed, I can’t believe I fell for this. “

The woman says she immediately called her bank and put a stop payment on anything Venmo, transferred all the money out, then closed the account in question.

“It was a huge pain in the ass, but it could’ve been so much worse,” she said.

The Sheriff’s Office is advising anyone who gets a call/voicemail from 517-565-0030, not to pick it up or call them back.

“If you happen to talk to this person, DO NOT give them any of your information,” stated a social media notice. “Instead, hang up. These are fraudulent calls!”

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