By Carey Codd

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Last Friday John Broadbent says he received a phone call that spooked him.

Broadbent says the caller claimed to be from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and they had a disturbing message for him.

“They made it clear to me that if I didn’t pay them the money they wanted, they were going to be arresting me,” Broadbent said.

Broadbent said the caller told him that BSO’s Fraud Unit had a warrant for his arrest for an unpaid debt. To avoid going to jail, Broadbent was told to call a BSO Captain named Tom O’Brien and make arrangements to pay a fine.

“Initially I was convinced that this was legitimate,” Broadbent told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.

But Broadbent was suspicious and he went online to do some research. He found there is no Captain Tom O’Brien and there is no BSO Fraud Unit.

Broadbent called BSO and says he was told it was all a scam.

A Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said this scam has become commonplace. However, this is the first time the agency has heard of someone trying to pull the con while claiming to be from BSO.

BSO says these scammers usually prey on the elderly.

Broadbent has a leg up on some potential victims. He works for a company that provides identity theft protection.

“I’ve seen these types of scams before, or I’ve heard about them,” he said. “I talk about these things in my presentations.”

Broadbent knows not to give out personal info over the phone. He knew what to do to avoid becoming a victim. He wants you to know, too.

“Be careful,” he said. “Don’t trust everybody. If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.”

A BSO spokesperson said if this has happened to you, contact BSO’s Economic Crimes Unit at 954 321-4255.


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