Oroville, Ca—The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple reports of citizens receiving phone calls from someone identifying themselves as an employee of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, advising that a warrant is about to be issued in the citizen’s name unless a payment is made. This is a scam that has been perpetrated in numerous states and localities across the US. Due to the technology used by the scammers, the phone numbers are often times extremely difficult or impossible to track, however BCSO has been investigating the reports and has served search warrants related to this scam.
The scammers will call from what appears to be a local phone number and identify themselves as a local law enforcement officer or deputy. The scammers will use a sense of urgency and threat of imminent arrest, or warrant issuance to obtain money from the victims. The scammers tell the victim that if they do not want a warrant issued for their arrest, they need to pay a fine to clear the warrant. The scammers will then instruct the victim to obtain and place funds on a pre-paid debit card, in this case, commonly a “Green Dot” brand card. These pre-paid debit cards are available at many local retailers and are also used for legitimate purposes.
The scammers then instruct the victim to transfer the funds from the pre-paid card, into the scammers account, via phone. The scammers generally ask for several hundred, up to one to two thousand dollars. Over the past three months, dozens of Butte County residents have called to report the scam, but to this date we are only aware of one local case where there was an actual financial loss.
Several different versions have been seen in Butte County over the past few months. Those include:
You have (or will have) a warrant for your arrest due to:
o Missed jury duty.
o Unpaid traffic or other citation.
o You owe money to the IRS /state / back taxes, etc.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Office will not call people for any of the aforementioned reasons.
The scammers will often have voicemails present on call-back that emulate the Sheriff’s Office. Scammers in other areas have used “spoofing” technology to make it appear they are calling from phone numbers actually associated with the Sheriff’s Office.
If you receive a phone call that you believe is a scam, please report it by calling our non-emergency number at 530-538-7322.
For more information, please contact
BCSO Media Liaison, Miranda Bowersox
(530) 538-5384 or (530) 990-6949