DATE: December 15, 2023
SUBJECT: Phone Scammer Fails to Fool Two Savvy Victims
CONTACT: Sheriff Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Noah Robinson

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating a phone scam in which the caller claimed to be a representative of Vanderburgh Superior Court.

Both victims reported that their caller ID displayed the number “812-421-6201”, which is the main line of the Sheriffs Office. A couple of decades ago, carrying out caller ID spoofing required specialized knowledge and equipment that could be quite expensive. Now, open source software and modern VoIP phone technology allows those with limited technical knowledge to spoof calls with minimal cost and effort.

In this recent case, the scam caller claimed the victim had missed a court date and that a warrant had been issued for their arrest. Thankfully, both victims were savvy enough to detect that they were about to be scammed. Each victim began to question the scammer, prompting the caller to disconnect. The victims in this case did the right thing and called the Superior Court Judge’s Office immediately.

Sheriff Noah Robinson stated, “I’m hopeful instances of fraudulent caller ID spoofing will continue to decline as the FCC fully implements Caller ID authentication technology. Even with more stringent requirement on U.S. based carriers, there may not be a way to entirely prevent a bad actor from abusing the system.” Sheriff Robinson added, “Spoofing is actually legal as there are perfectively legitimate reasons to do it. A dentist’s office or bank might want their main number to display on a Caller ID instead of the back office number that actually placed the call.”

The Sheriff’s Office recommends the public take the following precautions to avoid becoming a phone scam victim:

  • DO NOT trust Caller ID.
  • If a caller threatens consequences for ending the call so that you can verify their claim, HANG UP. It’s a scam.
  • DO call the purported agency being represented back at a number YOU KNOW to be correct.
  • Is a caller claiming you have a warrant? Visit and check yourself.