AUBURN — Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson does not have a “deep, Southern accent.”
Area residents, therefore, need be alert to telephone calls from a man — with a Southern drawl — who claims to be Samson and claims a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office issued a scam alert Wednesday, saying the department’s communication center has received several calls in recent days from residents reporting such phone calls, according to Chief Deputy William Gagne.
“We decided to call the phone number to speak with the person pretending to be Sheriff Samson,’ Gagne said. “Upon calling the number, the person on the other end of the call answered, ‘Sheriff’s Department.’ Our deputy (pretending to be a citizen) informed him that he had a voice-mail stating that he had a ‘warrant’ out for my arrest. The individual identified themselves as Sheriff Eric Samson of Androscoggin County.
“The fake sheriff had a thick, Southern accent (which the real sheriff does not) and could not state Androscoggin clearly and likely would not have been able to spell it either (which the real sheriff can both state and spell).”
Saying he needed to verify the warrant, the man claiming to be Samson said he needed to check the name. He “confirmed” there were warrants for failure to appear and a “contempt of court warrant for failing to show up for jury duty.”
The fake sheriff said the caller would need to pay $2,500 to clear the warrants.
“After our deputy stated that this was just too expensive, the fake sheriff stated that his lieutenant could override the warrants and reduce the amount to $500. He requested that the deputy go to a local store to purchase a ‘voucher’ since he was a government official and could not take money directly.”
The deputy was told to drive to a store while the fake sheriff remained on the line.
The deputy tried to lure the imposter into meeting him someplace local but was not successful, according to Gagne.
The phone number has since been disconnected.
Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson has not been calling area residents to ask that they pay fines for outstanding warrants. (Sun Journal file photo)