Phone scammer poses at sheriff's deputy

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a phone scam similar to one hitting other communities.
 
The scam left a couple, whom ABC Action News is not identifying by their last names, out of $600.
 
Bob and Ann received the call Saturday at their Hernando County home. 
 
The caller identified himself as Lt. John Martin with the Sheriff's Office. He said Ann had missed a jury summons. He said she was going to be arrested that day unless the issue was resolved.
 
He told the family the fastest way for them to resolve the issue was to pay a fine over the phone. The family bought pre-paid cards and gave the caller the card numbers. Soon after, Bob and Ann's money was gone.
 
"We got duped," Ann said.
 
The Sheriff's Office said it doesn’t employ a Lt. John Martin. Sheriff Al Neinhuis told ABC Action News the caller is taking advantage of people's respect for law enforcement.
 
"It is definitely our goal to get this person behind bars," the sheriff said.
 
Neinhuis said that if someone receives a call from the alleged scammer, the call recipient should write down as much information from the caller as possible.
 
He advised against giving the caller any money or information. When the call is over, he said, the potential victim should then contact the Sheriff's Office.
 
Recently, a similar scam has been reported in St. Petersburg. Police there said one victim, an 84-year-old woman, lost $12,000.
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