November 15, 2022
RE: Phone Scam Alert
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office has been taking multiple reports regarding a phone scam targeting our area where suspects are soliciting money from victims to avoid arrest. In the scam, the victims are told they may have a warrant for their arrest related to jury duty, fines, or other court issues. Ultimately the victims are told to obtain Green Dot Money cards or other financial cards from a local business and provide the card numbers over the phone in order to pay a fine and avoid arrest or further consequences. Lately the information and phone numbers used mask actual Bonneville County phone numbers, addresses, and coincidently the names of actual Deputies or Employees, and at times actually connect to the suspects when the re-dial button is pushed. Deputies have found several instances where an automated system answers and seems to be a realistic connection to county offices.
While it is common for Law Enforcement or the County Courts to contact people by phone for what could be a variety of issues, there is never a circumstance where a Law Enforcement or County official will solicit money over the phone for the purposes of avoiding arrest or criminal consequences. Individuals who do have active warrants for their arrest for any purpose must contact the courts directly, turn themselves in to local Law Enforcement or be contacted in person by Law Enforcement to resolve. Failing to respond to things like jury duty or failing to pay court fines can result in the court issuing a warrant for your arrest, but to resolve that issue takes direct contact with the courts and typically a personal appearance in front of the judge.
The largest indicator of a phone scam is any kind of request for the victims to physically travel to a local store, purchase any kind of money or financial gift card, and provide the card numbers over the phone. Some scams suggest alternative options such as paying at a “kiosk” in the lobby of the Courthouse or Sheriff’s Office or providing bank account numbers or personal information to transfer funds. Again, this is never a method Law Enforcement or Court officials will use to collect fines or help people avoid arrest for any reason.
Unfortunately, it’s been very common to see multiple versions of these phone scams targeting Jury Duty Notices, compromised Social Security Numbers, overdue taxes or fines, Sex Offender Registry violations, and even situations claiming your loved ones need bailed out of jail or have been kidnapped. Victims of these crimes come from all walks of life and all ages. It is always good practice to frequently monitor your financial accounts for suspicious activity and change your account passwords often, especially if you’ve been the victim of a phone or internet scam. Take the time to research how you can protect your personal information from being compromised and steps to activate available security verifications on all of your financial, email, social media, and internet accounts.
If you have been the victim of a phone scam and have suffered a loss of money, property or your personal information has been compromised, contact Bonneville County Dispatch or your local Law Enforcement to make a report. If you are unsure if the person calling you is part of a scam, you can always hang up and contact your local dispatch or city/county offices to verify that an officer is trying to reach you. If you have information relating to suspects involved in criminal activity you can always report anonymously to East Idaho Crime Stoppers online at www.IFcrime.org or through the P3tips app on your mobile device.