A scam involving the threat of arrest for missing jury duty is hitting central Indiana, including Hamilton County.
The caller may be using names of courthouse employees and Sheriff's Office deputies to lend credence to the calls.
The Sheriff's Office is aware of two incidents over the weekend when a caller identified himself as "Sgt. Farley" or "Capt. Stanaford" from the Hamilton County Sheriff's office and instructed individuals to pay a fine for missed jury duty.
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, a deputy, 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 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 in doubt about speaking with an official county employee, hang up the telephone, research the appropriate number, and contact the agency directly. 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, please report it to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction. Hamilton County Public Safety Communications at 317-773-1282 can direct you to the appropriate agency to determine if a report should be filed.