We have received several reports today of a law enforcement scam via telephone. The scam consists of a person calling and claiming to be with the Parkersburg Police Department. The scammer is using a VOIP phone that makes the number appear to be that of the Parkersburg Police.
At least one time today, he claimed to be a known officer in our department.
The subject tells callers they missed jury duty and a warrant has been issued for their arrest on charges of failure to appear and contempt of court, both with large fines. The subject also tells the victim that if the fine is not paid they will come and arrest them on the warrants. (FACT: You very seldom get a phone call telling you there is a warrant out for your arrest. You usually get a knock on the door by people with badges who want to give you a ride in a patrol car).
In these type of scams the subject usually instructs the victim to go to the store and get either Green Dot or other gift cards because the court does not accept cash or checks (FACT: It’s just the opposite. The courts gladly accept most types of payments, but gift cards and Greendots are not on the list).
ANYTIME somebody calls you and tells you they want payment in gift cards it is a SCAM. Any time somebody calls you and demands you wire them money, it is a SCAM. In fact, these days, a majority of the time people contact you out of the blue and say you owe them money, it is a SCAM.
If you ever have any doubts about something like this, hang up. If you want peace of mind, look up the agency they say they are calling from and make a call yourself. Then you will at least know you are talking to law enforcement.