Sophisticated scam targets one of our reporters; Channel 11 takes the call directly to the sheriff

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — Sophisticated scammers could be reaching out directly to you on your loved ones, saying you missed a court date, and you need to pay up, or be arrested.

One of those scammers targeted one of our reporters, Gabriella DeLuca.

The scammers are using real judges’ names, and real information about you and your family. The level of detail is startling.

We took the calls straight to the Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus.

“There’s a lot of people getting the same phone call you did, and that’s concerning,” Sheriff Kraus said.

He wasn’t surprised to hear about the scam popping up again.  A voice on the other line identified himself with the sheriff’s office and claimed a missed court appearance meant a $1,500 payment.

The scammer knew specific information, including the reporter’s location.

Sheriff Kraus said he doesn’t think a scammer can hack into someone’s phone, and likely made a guess.

" I would say, it was based on assumption. They know where she worked, and know she worked a certain schedule. They probably use that as information to bolster their scam,” he added.

Despite the realistic phone call, Sheriff Kraus says there is one big red flag that everyone should be aware of:

“We wouldn’t do any business or transactions by phone. Everything we do is in person,” he said.

Plus, they’d never ask for payment by way of an app, like ApplePay or Venmo,

“The more you talk about it, and the more we become aware that these things are happening, and it’s real, the better off people are.”

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