A man posing as a Cook County Sheriff's police officer has been calling residents and trying to coerce them into sending him money for red light fines, reports said.
A 42-year-old woman filed a report at the Oak Lawn police station on Oct. 16, saying she had been the target of an attempted phone scam the day before.
Police said that a man identifying himself as Lt. Mike Stevens from the Cook County Warrant Division, contacted the woman around 2 p.m. Oct. 15. “Lt. Stevens” left a voicemail stating that he had a bench warrant for her arrest.
The woman called him back later in the evening, in which she was told by Lt. Stevens that she was wanted on an outstanding warrant for running a red light in Oak Lawn.
The man proceeded to tell her that red light camera computers were down, and could not verify the time nor where the alleged violation occurred.
Police said the woman was instructed to load $250 on a green dot money card. The woman found the call suspicious and pressed Lt. Stevens for more information. She terminated the phone call without providing any personal information.
The woman wanted the incident documented.
An Oak Lawn police officer called the phone number, which had a 224-area code. The call went straight to voicemail with a greeting, “This is Lt. Mike Stevens from the warrant division. Please leave your name and number.”
Another Patch reader reported receiving a phone call from “Officer Mike Stevens” from the Cook County Warrant Division, also asking for money to be put on a green dot card for a red light warrant. Caller ID showed the number to have a 224-area code.
Oak Lawn Police Detective Thomas Cronin told Patch that a Google search revealed similar phone scams associated with the name of “Lt. Mike Stevens” in the eastern United States.
The detective spoke to Lt. Mike, but he hung up after the detective identified himself.
“This does seem to be getting steam in the area,” Det. Cronin said. “Please let your readers know about this scam.”
Oak Lawn Police also advise that police never instruct citizens to get green dot cards. Should residents receive such a call, they should file a report with their local police department and notify the Cook County Sheriff’s Office if they identify themselves as sheriff’s police.