The Pulaski County Sheriff’s office has issued an alert to warn of an apparent revival of the arrest-warrant fraud scheme. "We do not operate in this manner," Pulaski County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Carl M. Minden said in a press release of the fraud.
The PCSO warning said that in the scheme a caller identifies himself as a sheriff’s deputy, and says there is an arrest warrant for the person being called. The person is then told that arrest action can be stopped by paying the fine or posting bond by debit or credit over the phone.
Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley said Monday that he is not aware of the fraud being perpetrated in the county, but warned residents to be cautious of phone calls or emails that entail sending money. "Right now we only take checks or money orders; we don’t take credit cards at this time," Staley said. Hang up and call the agency named, no county agency is going to call and request this from you, he said.
At Pulaski County, "We do not operate in this manner," Minden said. "We would not make a call of this nature and we do not accept credit/debit cards of any kind. Fines are paid to the court and bonds are paid to bail bondsmen," he said.
Do not respond with a payment if such a call is received, Minden said. "We do not collect fines … We do not take credit or debit cards for any of the services we offer," Minden said.
Anyone with questions about Pulaski County warrants may contact the PCSO Warrants Division at 501-340-8450. The main PCSO phone number is 501-340-6600.
Local courts and police agencies are not alone with fraud attempts. In January, the federal Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) issued a warning about emails infecting recipients’ computers with viruses.
According to the information, the emails instruct recipients to report to a hearing and have an attached document supposedly with detailed case information. Opening the attachments or using the links in the email launches a malicious program.
The AO press release advised that anyone who is not involved in a federal case generally will not be electronically served with court documents. If an email is received regarding a federal court case or matter of which the recipient is not aware, any attachments or links should not be used until after contacting the federal court.
Individuals in central Arkansas would contact Arkansas Eastern District Court at Little Rock, 501-604-5351, or online at http://www.are.uscourts.gov
In another fraud, a virus locks up personal computers and then issues a demand for money, claiming to be the Department of Justice and the U.S. Courts. AO information is that this is a "scam" with no connection to the courts or other federal agencies. Victims should contact the Justice Department "ransomware hotline," 202-353-0708.