Sheriff Dart Warns Public of Phone and Email Scams

Apr 26, 2024Press Release

COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is alerting the public of a recent uptick in telephone and email phishing scams in which scammers identify themselves as a Sheriff’s Office employee in an attempt to defraud victims.

Scammers are using the actual names and respective titles of Sheriff’s Office employees to appear legitimate. Scammers may demand victims provide or verify personal and financial information or demand that they make payments via prepaid debit cards, gift cards, and third-party money apps.

The scammers may also send phishing email messages from addresses designed to appear as though they are legitimate Sheriff’s Office email addresses. These messages may contain a link or attachment allowing the scammer to gain access to sensitive information when the victim attempts to use the link or attachment.

Scammers often use legal or police jargon to impersonate law enforcement officials and further intimidate the victims.

The public should be aware that these types of calls and emails are scams. Sheriff’s Office employees do not ask for immediate compliance with orders or any form of payment via phone or email.

The Sheriff’s Office offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of these scams:

  • If you believe a call is suspicious, immediately hang up.
  • Never give personal information such as Social Security numbers or bank account numbers over the phone or in response to any suspicious email.
  • If a scammer claims to be from a specific public agency, including the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, contact that agency directly to determine whether there is a legitimate reason to contact you. Do not use any phone number or email address given to you by the scammer.
  • Do not click on any suspicious links or attachments. If you receive an unexpected email stating you need to confirm some personal and/or financial information, report the email as spam.

Individuals who believe they have been a victim of these scams are asked to call the Sheriff’s Police Investigation Section at 708-865-4896 or the Sheriff’s Police non-emergency number at 847-635-1188.