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The Hesston Record
345 Old Hwy 81
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4831

July 12, 2018 Hesston RecordJuly 12, 2018 Hesston Record

Scammer Poses As Sheriff’s Office

Posted 6/1/2017

By Jared Janzen

 NEWTON—The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a scam where someone claiming to be from their office is calling people saying they have a warrant and need to pay a certain amount of money to avoid arrest.

“We know for a fact this is a scam,” said Melissa Flavin, public information office for the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office received three reports on May 23 from Harvey County residents who had received a call like this. All three reports came within an hour of each other.

The story varied slightly each time, but according to Flavin, the caller would tell people they had one or more warrant for their arrest due to missing jury duty or missing a subpoenaed court appearance. The scammer asked the potential victims to meet in person to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,900.22.

Flavin said this is not how the sheriff’s office handles warrants. They do not make phone calls but instead show up directly at a person’s house and take that person into custody when they have a warrant. Furthermore, she said a person cannot pay off a warrant without going to jail first.

The sheriff’s department is not currently using any other means to let people know they have a warrant, although in the past they would send postcards. Flavin said people with warrants issued against them are generally aware of the reason without notification because they know they did something wrong.

“Usually if someone has a warrant they should have an inkling of it,” she said.

Common reasons for warrants are if a person does not pay a medical bill or traffic ticket. As for the scammer’s claim of a warrant for missing jury duty, Flavin said she’s never known the sheriff’s office to issue one of these, although it would be possible.

The scammer had also asked his potential victims to give their phone number, which Flavin pointed out is obviously unnecessary because the scammer should already know the number if he’d dialed it.

Flavin said the sheriff’s office has seen similar scams as this one in the past, but not recently. She said scams usually cycle according to the time of year, such as IRS scams during tax time and travel scams during the summer.

She had several pieces of advice for people who receive suspicious phone calls. First, ask questions. In the case of this scam, she recommended asking for the purported deputy’s name, title and badge number.

“Usually when you start asking questions they’ll start getting nervous and hang up because they can’t answer those questions,” she said.

Second, she recommended calling the sheriff’s office at 316-284-6960 if someone is unsure if there is a warrant in their name, or if they have questions about this scam.

“We’d be more than happy to answer their questions to give people that peace of mind,” Flavin said.