UTAH COUNTY, Utah, March 11, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a scam in which the victims are told they have a warrant they must pay or face going to jail.
A news release from Sgt. Spencer Cannon, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, said investigators have received calls recently from citizens who were contacted by scammers representing themselves as department employees.
Cannon said: “The caller will even use the name of an actual employee of the UCSO. They will say there is a warrant for your arrest and will tell you a bail amount. Often the name they use may be recognizable, adding credibility to their statement. Additionally, the bail amount does not seem outlandish, perhaps in the neighborhood of $300 to $500.
“After giving their introduction, the caller will tell you they can help you clear the warrant. All they need you to do is give them a debit card number. Or they might tell you to go to a local business, often a store like Wal-Mart, and buy a Green Dot card, or some other cash card. The caller will instruct you to call them back with the card information so they can clear the warrant.
“Let me be perfectly clear: this is a scam. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office will never call you and ask you for personal financial information in an effort to collect bail on a warrant, or for any other court related financial obligation or fine.”
Cannon said the Sheriff’s Office does have employees who will call residents to advise them of a warrant. In that case, they will state the bail amount and will tell the person to contact the Utah County Justice Court to make arrangements to get it cleared or to pay the bail. A person with a warrant can go to the court in person to pay a fine.
Residents can also call Utah Valley Dispatch and ask to have a deputy touch base to collect bail. The Utah County Justice Court website also lists payment options. That website is: www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/JustCrt/PaymentOptions.html. Other courts will have similar procedures of their own.
The press release goes on: “When a person has given this kind of information to a scammer it is very difficult to investigate these cases. The callers are often out of state and are operating out of temporary offices that will frequently close down or move to a different location to avoid detection. Never be afraid to question them or ‘hurt their feelings.’ Any legitimate official from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office will understand this and will allow you to look up the UCSO, or Utah County Justice Court, contact information on your own. Also, please report these scam efforts to your local law enforcement agency.”