New variation of old scam in Hamilton County

Last year, con artists attempted to scam Hamilton County residents by calling and threatening arrest, claiming victims were delinquent in paying taxes. Deputy Bryant Orem said a new variation of this scam has popped up in Hamilton County with thieves now calling and threatening arrest because victims did not appear for jury duty.

“In an even more interesting twist, the callers may be using names of courthouse employees to lend credence to their calls,” he stated.

Orem said the scam works like this: A victim answers the telephone and the caller says a warrant is being issued for not appearing for jury duty (or paying taxes or another offense). The caller may give the name of a courthouse employee or a name similar to an employee. Caller ID may even show the call originating from a local number as these ID’s are easy to fake with current technology. The caller then states that the victim can avoid the arrest by paying a fine submitted by wire transfer or pre-paid credit card. Pressure is put on the victim to pay quickly in order to avoid jail time since once paperwork is submitted the arrest is imminent. The caller may even provide another telephone number to call to verify the offense and pending arrest.

“As a reminder, arrest warrants in Hamilton County are not served over the telephone. If you are ever in doubt that you are speaking with an official county employee, hang up the telephone, research the appropriate number, and contact the agency directly,” Orem stated. “Do not call a number given by the person on the telephone as it probably is not a correct number. If you owe money to the county or to any government agency, contact the office directly to determine how the money should be paid. Most government agencies do not use wire transfers or pre-paid credit cards. It is almost impossible to track or recover money if the victim falls for the fraud.”

If you receive one of these scam phone calls, or one similar to it, report it to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction. Hamilton County Communications at 773-1282 can direct you to the appropriate agency to determine if a report should be filed.