The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department is warning the public about a phone scam reported by a number of residents throughout the county, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

Several people have reported being contacted by someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff and said a "grand jury warrant" had been issued for the individual’s arrest, but the warrant could be cleared by purchasing a gift card and using it to post bail.

“We want to caution residents this is a scam,” Cipolla said, adding the Sheriff’s Department does not contact residents by phone regarding such matters, and deputy sheriffs will never request money or gift cards in lieu of bail.

Cipolla said anyone who receives a call like that should report it to the local law enforcement agency or the Sheriff's Department at 805-781-4550.

He encouraged residents to inform family and friends about the scam.

The “arrest warrant” scam is one of several common scams that circulate periodically in various areas. Others include the fake Publisher’s Clearing House prize scam and the so-called “grandparents” scam.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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