Con men ramp up ‘jury duty’ scam, victim loses nearly $800 (hear recording)

PRESCOTT – The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has received “numerous” complaints in recent days about phone calls claiming to be from the YCSO and demanding money as a fine for failure to appear for jury duty, Sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.

Most of the intended victims hung up on the caller, but on Monday, Jan. 9, one Prescott woman was convinced to buy two pre-paid credit cards and give the numbers to the con man.

The woman said she got the call on her cellphone Monday morning as she was driving south on Interstate 17, and that a man who said his name was “Frank Davenport” from the YCSO told her there were warrants for her arrest for failure to come to jury duty in federal court, D’Evelyn said.

The caller was transferred to a “Mr. Rhodes,” who stayed on the phone with the victim until she arrived in Sun City West. He directed her to withdraw $785 from the bank, go to a convenience store, and buy two PayPal prepaid credit cards, D’Evelyn said.

She gave the man the numbers from the cards and he told her to go to the Sheriff’s Office the next morning and give them and the receipts, plus some other documentation, to the Sheriff and the warrant would be cleared up.

By the time she realized she’d been bilked out of the money, it was gone from the cards.

The phone number the call came from a number in the 928-215-68XX-series, as have others involved with this scam, D’Evelyn said, and detectives are working to track down that number.

He added that neither the Sheriff’s Office nor court officials will ever demand payment on a warrant by a pre-paid credit card, and the best action to take if you’re ever concerned is to hang up and call back on a published number for the agency involved.