A Cumberland County Sheriff's Office cruiser is seen parked outside the Cumberland County Courthouse in this March 20, 2018, BDN file photo. Credit: Seth Koenig | BDN

Scammers are calling some Cumberland and Androscoggin county residents, pretending to be detectives and saying they need to buy gift cards in order to avoid being arrested, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office warned Thursday.

A man claiming to a “Detective Wayne Pike” of the sheriff’s office told residents who answered the telephone that they missed jury duty and an arrest warrant issued for them, Capt. Donald Goulet of the sheriff’s office said in a Thursday news release.

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The detective impersonator then told the victims they could avoid arrest by purchasing gift cards and reading the gift card numbers to him over the phone, Goulet said. One person gave the scammer $3,000 worth of gift cards, Goulet said.

The perpetrator appears to be targeting psychologists and social workers whose contact information was obtained through the website psychologytoday.com, Goulet said.

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Goulet said the sheriff’s office will never call and request payments over the telephone, and anyone claiming to be representing the sheriff’s office and doing so cannot be trusted.

He said anyone who believes to have been victimized by these or similar scammers should contact Detective Ashley Hall at ahall@cumberlandcounty.org or 207-774-1444, ext. 2159.

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Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.