Over the last few days, suspects impersonating court officers have deluged the Prescott area with phone calls as part of an ongoing scam.
One example occurred Monday involving a victim who received a call from a “process server” (suspect). The caller requested she confirm her address because two arrest warrants for failing to appear on a federal jury notice had been issued in her name. The suspect even identified a Prescott Superior Court Judge by name as the one who issued the warrants. The suspect demanded she arrange to pay the $1000 bond “right now.” The victim smartly questioned the validity of the call, did not comply, and verified with the local court that the call was a scam.
Another example occurred yesterday and involved a victim who received a call on her cell phone during her workday in Prescott. The caller told her a warrant had been issued in her name and demanded payment. The victim refused and hung up. The number was recorded as 928-200-xxxx. A number with this 200 prefix has been noted in several of these cases.
Remember, as part of the scam suspects will demand payment by pre-paid debit card or suggest the “bail” money be wired to a specified location. In other versions of the scam, the suspects attempt to obtain personal information to use for identity theft. YCSO has contacted the appropriate cell phone company regarding the number provided yesterday and it has been disconnected. Many times suspects will use pre-paid cells phones which are difficult to trace.
REMEMBER, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES and COURT OFFICIALS WILL NEVER CALL TO SOLICIT PAYMENT ON A WARRANT IN THIS MANNER.
NAMES USED BY SUSPECTS IN THESE CALLS MAY OR MAY NOT REPRESENT A TRUE PERSON- EITHER WAY THESE CALLS ARE ALWAYS FRAUDULENT!
Please share this information with family and friends.
The scam is well over a decade old.
Below is from a May, 2014, release involving a similar telephone scam where suspects identified themselves as Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies.
May 30, 2014 - Yesterday both the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Prescott Police Department were contacted by fraud victims regarding a phone scam in which suspects impersonate Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies.
In the YCSO incident, the victim received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as “Sgt. Michael Barnsworth” with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. The “Sgt.” announced that 2 misdemeanor warrants had been issued for her arrest because she failed to appear on a jury summons. The “Sgt.” indicated a follow-up call would provide further instructions.
A second call was received from a man identifying himself at “Lt. Jeff Johnson” with the Sheriff’s Office. The “Lt.” directed her to go to a local grocery store and purchase two “Green Dot” debit cards for $493 each. She was then told to call a 928-215 prefix to arrange payment and warned that if she contacted law enforcement directly, she would be “arrested on the spot.” She believed the circumstances were suspicious and call YCSO to find out it was in fact a scam.
Similar incidents were reported to the Prescott Police Department and detectives are investigating. It was also reported the callback number provided by the suspects results in a pre-recorded message imitating messages on some Sheriff’s Office business lines.
REMEMBER, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WILL NEVER CALL TO SOLICIT PAYMENT ON A WARRANT IN THIS MANNER.
THE NAMES PROVIDED BY SUSPECTS MAY OR MAY NOT REPRESENT A TRUE PERSON- EITHER WAY THESE CALLS ARE ALWAYS FRAUDULENT!
If you receive such calls, please contact your local police agency using their commonly published business phone number to report the fraud. Please share with family and friends.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov