Fake Cop Wants Prepaid PayPal Cards To Make Your Warrant Go Away

Image courtesy of (Kenny Louie)

Here’s an innovative scam that’s been reported near St. Louis, and could soon come to a doorstep near you. Victims report receiving a phone call from someone who identifies himself as a local police officer, who tells the target that they’ve missed a court date, and must pay up within an hour or an officer will immediately arrive to arrest them. While the threat of being arrested is scary, this is not an actual thing that happens.

This is very similar to the IRS phone call scam, where bad guys call people up to let them know that their tax bills are due immediately, and the target must purchase a prepaid card and transmit the numbers over the phone. Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars to the IRS version of the scam. This almost makes sense for the distant and scary IRS, but why do you need to pay over the phone when your local police are after you?

Here’s the story that the fake cop spins: you, the target, were supposed to report for jury duty and didn’t show up. You can pay $174 right now by prepaid card over the phone, and receive a new date to report to the court, or you’ll be arrested really soon. In Jefferson County, Missouri, they even add in the names of an actual sheriff’s department lieutenant and an actual judge. (The local government has removed both of their names from official websites while this scam is occurring, in case targets Google their names.)

If someone calls and threatens to arrest you, turn around and look up the phone number of the agency that is allegedly calling you, whether it’s the IRS or your local sheriff. Crooks are looking for new and inventive ways to make people panic and send them money over the phone: it’s the job of informed consumers to think critically instead of panicking, and to warn less savvy loved ones about these scams.

Missouri scammer poses as police and threatens arrest for money [KTVI]

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