Fairfax County Sheriff's deputies are warning residents of a new phone scam that leads victims to believe they could be jailed if they don't pay up.
The sheriff's office reports they have received more than 30 reports of these scam calls during just the past few days. A scammer calls the victim and tells them they're wanted for not showing up to a court date. He then tells the victim a "fine" can be paid using a MoneyCard.
News4 was recording as the scammer attempted to get an undercover sheriff's deputy to send money.
"I feel that you are not going to comply with the special conditions of this warrant, so I'm going to have... I'm going to email the judge... and, uh put your name on the list with folks that don't comply and... (sigh)... unfortunately, after that the cops... an officer of the court will proceed to your address, you will be detained and given a new court date without bond and your license will be suspended for a year," the scammer says.
"How do I fix this?" the undercover deputy asks. "That's all I want to know. I just want to know how to fix it. ... Because I've never been in trouble before."
"... comply with the special conditions of this warrant. As I explained to you earlier," the scammer said.
Fairfax County resident Ellen Parke said she fell victim to the scam and said the scammer sounded very official.
"This guy sounded really authentic," Parke said. "He talked like a police officer... He used the word 'warrant' which made me think, oh gosh am I going to be arrested?"
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid sent the following warning to residents Wednesday:
Please be aware! The Sheriff’s Office is in no way associated with this scam. Sheriff’s deputies will NOT call to ask you for money nor threaten you with arrest.
If you receive a threatening phone call related to jury duty or tax payments, please hang up immediately. Do NOT give out personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, passwords or any other identifying information. Regularly monitor all of your accounts and always use strong passwords.
To confirm a jury duty summons, contact the Circuit Court jury duty clerk at 703-246-7816 (press 0). For information about tax scams, visit the IRS consumer alerts page.