In late December, a 42-year-old Prescott man contacted the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) to report losing money in a “jury warrant scam.”
He told deputies he had recently received a call from someone claiming to be an YCSO deputy. The supposed deputy told the Prescott man there was a $4,000 warrant for his arrest because he was a no show for jury duty and that if the warrant was not paid, a deputy would be out to arrest him, according to a news release.
As instructed, the Prescott man went to a local drug store and purchased eight $500 prepaid Money Pak Green Dot cards and called the phone number provided by the suspected scammer, according to the news release. He then shared all of the card numbers with the suspected scammer. Soon after hanging up, the Prescott man realized he had been warned previously about scams like this. He quickly tried to cancel the transactions, but was only successful in getting payment stopped on two of the cards. As a result, he lost $3,000, according to the release.
Detectives are following up with leads regarding the phone number while attempting to track the pre-paid debit cards to the suspect.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and other local police agencies continue to receive calls about such a scam, in which suspects use the names of local officials in the justice system in an attempt to make the scam believable.
“Remember, law enforcement agencies and court officials will never call to solicit payment on a warrant in this manner,” said Dwight D’Evelyn, YCSO Media Relations Coordinator. “Names used by suspects in these calls may or may not represent a true person – either way these calls are always fraudulent.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to share this information with friends and family. It also asks that merchants who sell pre-paid credit cards to educate employees and share this information with customers who may not realize they are being victimized.
“The pattern is usually clear,” D’Evelyn said. “Multiple cards purchased in the same denomination, victims usually elderly, and a customer exhibiting a stressful demeanor during the transaction as they rush to purchase cards to avoid ‘arrest.’”
Yavapai County jury Information can be found at http://courts.yavapai.us/clerk/Juror-Info/Frequently-Asked-Questions, in which a similar warning is provided by court officials.
Additional information can also be found in this educational video produced by the United States Courts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbOguX8f4RA.
Information provided by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
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