Police warn of caller who offers to clear arrest warrants for money

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and local police agencies have received complaints from citizens concerning a warrant payment scam where someone calls to ask for a payoff to avoid arresting the person that supposedly has an outstanding warrant.

Here’s how it works: A subject calls a citizen at random and identifies himself as “a Washington County Deputy Sheriff.” He tells the person who answers the phone that the citizen currently has a warrant for his or her arrest. The subject tells the victim he or she will be arrested if the person did not buy a Green Dot prepaid card in a specified amount, and pay the caller to clear the warrant. Once the victim has the card, the subject would arrange a location to meet and get the card. The subject threatens to come to their house and arrest them if they don’t pay.

Law enforcement officials point out that no agency would ever call demanding money to clear a warrant, or for any other reason. If a person has an outstanding arrest warrant, a law enforcement officer is required to take that person into custody and would not take any type of payment to clear the warrant.

Anyone who receives a call similar to this is urged to call law enforcement and report it immediately.

There have been reports to other law enforcement agencies with similar circumstances. This scam is a variation of other scams where people will call or email with the promise of something in exchange for cash, Green Dot prepaid cards, money wires or any other form of payment that involves urgent payment. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens to never send money in any form to someone you don’t know. These requests are generally an attempt to cheat you out of your money.

Investigators are seeking the public’s help regarding this case. Anyone with any information, or anyone who has recently received a solicitation that seemed suspicious, is asked to call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503-629-0111.

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