Fake Warrant Arrest and Jury Duty Scams

How the fake warrant call works

Individuals impersonating local law enforcement call potential victims making claims of false outstanding warrants or fines to extract money from them. The scam involves pressure of an immediate threat of arrest, if not compliant with their orders.
This individual knows at least some of your personal information, though there’s no indication as to where they obtained it.

Depending on your region, they may claim to be city, county, state, or federal law enforcement officers.

If you receive a voicemail from local law enforcement demanding a call back, do not respond. Instead, call your local police department’s general phone number or go in person to verify the call.

Please remember, law enforcement will never call you if you have an arrest warrant for missing jury duty, nor will they ask you to send money to clear a warrant. Lastly, they will never ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself for any reason.

The only way to get out of this entirely fictitious predicament and avoid going to fake jail is to pay a fee or a fine via payment through:

Apps such as Zelle, Venmo or Cash App

Credit card information for over the phone payment.

Bank account information to include your password so they can access your funds.

• Instruct you to go to the bank in person to take out cash and deposit into a crypto currency ATM.

The scammer may ask to keep you on the cell phone while completing your transaction to provide instructions. They may provide you with a cover story if the banker asks questions. Once the funds are put into a crypto currency ATM any recovery is doubtful.

• Obtain gift cards from stores such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.
• Once you have the cards, they will ask you to scratch off the back to expose the card number and give them the number, which they can use to obtain the value of the card.

Spoofed Calls

The scammers use spoofed law enforcement telephone numbers, names, official titles, and addresses.

• Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers manipulate caller ID to look like the call is coming from an official government number. Look up the agency’s number yourself, if you’re concerned, and give them a call. But don’t use the number in caller ID.

The following is a list of suspicious activity to look out for related to this scam.

• Calls from local law enforcement stating an individual has fines for outstanding warrants.
• Calls from local law enforcement stating the court is holding the individual in contempt for failure to appear for jury duty.
• Calls from local law enforcement stating an individual has been placed under a “gag order” and is not allowed to speak with anyone else regarding the matter.
• Calls from local law enforcement demanding you remain on the line until the “bond” is paid.
• Requests for monetary gift cards (visa/green dot etc.) bank deposits, and voucher purchases to clear court fines or avoid jail time.
• Requests for videos or pictures of individuals conducting a personal strip search of themselves to clear court fines or avoid jail time.

What you can do to Protect yourself

  1. Never giving out any personal information when getting an unsolicited phone call. Be careful of the personal information you share of social media sites. This information may be used to understand you better and used against you to convince you of their validity. Social media site you frequent are primarily the largest resource of your information. Sites such as:

a. Facebook
b. Twitter
c. LinkedIn
d. Instagram

  1. Get the caller’s name, position or division, phone number, and agency.
  2. Tell them you are going to contact the agency with the warrant, not the number they give you. An actual law enforcement officer will encourage you to verify their information, however, remember the police do not make such calls. If there is an actual warrant, they will serve it in person
  3. Call the agency that has the warrant and verify the person by name. Get the agency’s phone number via the internet.
  4. Police will never ask for money outright over the telephone or via email.
  5. If the call was a scam, report it immediately to the proper authorities.

Variation: Jury Duty Scam

• The jury duty scam may be used to trick you into providing sensitive, personal information that can be used for identity theft.
• In another version, scammers use email and allegedly attach your “jury summons” to the message. The file is really malware and downloading it will infect your computer.

How to Spot this Scam:

  1. Be skeptical of email and unsolicited calls. Courts do not typically summon people via email, text message or phone. Unless you are involved in a case and have opted into receiving other types of communications, courts normally communicate through mail.
  2. Pick up the phone. If you ever question whether you need to appear in court, call the appropriate judicial agency. Don’t call the number in the email, as that will likely just lead you to the scammer. Look for official websites in your jurisdiction… and be on the lookout for fake websites, too.
  3. Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.
  4. Beware of requests to pay via wire transfer or prepaid debit card (such as MoneyPak, iTunes or similar cards). These are almost always a sign of fraud.
  5. Ask someone for help. BBB’s research shows that asking someone else is an important factor in reducing the chance of being scammed. Ask a family member or friend, “Does this sound right?”

References & Other Resources

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