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Phone scam threatens arrest warrants, thousands of dollars

Last updated on November 3, 2019

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From Fate Department of Public Safety:

In a growing scam reaching people across the country, phone fraudsters are using the threat of arrest warrants to pressure people into forking over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

These phone scams involve a caller impersonating a local police officer, IRS or a US Court. They can manipulate caller ID to make the number appear to come from the local sheriff’s office, police department, or jail. They tell potential victims they have an outstanding warrant for an unpaid debt, missed jury duty, or some minor infraction, and that a fine is due.

The callers convince people, often with threats of immediate arrest or notifying your employer, to make the payments by wiring it through Western Union, or buying a prepaid credit card like Green Dot, and registering it online.

Do not give any information to the caller. Attempt to find out which Law Enforcement agency is issuing the warrant. You can always google that Agency’s phone number and then call them directly. DO NOT rely on the phone number the caller gives you. If they refuse to give you an agency name that will be a clue this is a scam.

If you are contacted by someone who claims there is a warrant for your arrest or is claiming to collect a debt that you do not owe, you should:

Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written “validation notice.” A legitimate notice concerning an outstanding loan, must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Never give out information about your bank accounts or credit cards.

You can contact any of the three major credit bureaus and request a copy of your credit report.

If you have received a legitimate loan and want to verify that you do not have any outstanding obligation, contact the loan company directly.

File a complaint at

If a caller refuses to give you all of this information, do not pay! Paying a fake debt collector will not always make them go away. They usually make up another debt to try to get more money from you.

Stop speaking with the caller. If you have the caller’s address, send a letter demanding that the caller stop contacting you, and keep a copy for your files. By law, real debt collectors must stop calling you if you ask them to in writing.

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