Acting sheriff warns of new scam in Dutchess

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Acting Sheriff Kirk Imperati of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has issued a warning about a resurgence of scams targeting victims in Dutchess County.  The office received two reports of a scam attempt on Thursday, October 14.

According to Imperati, the latest scam involves fake arrest warrants in which the victim receives a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement official, saying that there is an arrest warrant for them, however, they can avoid prosecution by paying a sum of money. The DCSO received two reports of this scam on October 14. and in both instances, the perpetrator had claimed to be an official from the Dutchess County Jail.  Imperati said that DCSO personnel did not make those calls.

To aid the residents of the county in recognizing potential scams, Imperati has published a list of warning signs to help people avoid being victimized.

Imperati offered the following tips to help people avoid these scams:

  • Legitimate law enforcement would not attempt to satisfy a warrant or make promises to avoid prosecution by soliciting money. 
  • If you receive an email about an order you didn’t place or asking you to send money, call the company using a legitimate number. DO NOT follow the instructions in the email or call the number provided in the email.
  • If someone asks you to purchase merchandise, transfer money, provide bank information, or enter a code given to you by them use caution as it is likely a scam. 
  • Do not meet up with someone that you don’t know; if you’re asked to do this it is surely a scam, and it is very dangerous as well.
  • If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know asking for money, for any reason, that’s a signal that it’s most likely a scam.
  • If someone calls you and tells you that a relative has been hurt or is in jail, confirm it first before sending any money. Call other relatives or a legitimate law enforcement agency for confirmation before any money is sent. If they’re posing as a relative, try and contact that relative for confirmation. 
  • Sending money overseas is especially risky; use extreme caution.
  • Ask the person for their call back number and ask to speak to their supervisor to confirm the info; if it’s a scam they will most likely hang up at this point and the number they give you will be bogus.
  • If the person is telling you that a loved one is in the hospital or jail, find out which one and contact the institution yourself to confirm. 
  • If a loved one has recently passed away be wary; in some cases, perpetrators have even preyed on victims by searching through the obituaries and calling surviving loved ones. If you get calls from people you don’t know soon after someone passes away, be careful and confirm it before you send any money. 
  • In some cases, someone will call and tell the victim that they’ve won money, but to “process the claim” they need to first send money. Beware this is most definitely a scam and don’t send any money – you should never have to pay money to claim a prize. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • If there’s any doubt about a phone call or email you’ve received contact the Sheriff’s Office before sending any money
  • Scams tend to increase during the holiday season, be especially alert for them during those times. 


It is very important not to send money to anyone that you don’t know until you’ve confirmed the situation through an independent source and feel comfortable with it, according to Sheriff’s Captain John Watterson. “If it’s a scam once the money is sent it’s very difficult, and most times impossible, to get it back.” 

If anyone thinks they may have been the victim of a scam they are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 845-486-3800 or via the tipline at 845-605-CLUE or