We’ve recently been made aware of a scam attempt on residents of Austin in which a resident is being targeted by bogus phone calls and threatened with arrest by a person identifying themselves as a police officer. They advise them of ‘fake’ warrants for such things as failing to report to a court appearance or outstanding tickets. In this particular situation the caller used ranks and titles that seem to be legitimate, including names and addresses of personnel, such as judges names, docket times, and court addresses that are valid public pieces of information. In the calls, threats are made that a warrant will be served and the person will be arrested unless they go to a convenience store or pharmacy and purchase a prepaid card, such as a Pay Pal card in amounts ranging from $300 - $600. They then require the victim to call back and provide the card numbers and disappear. In other cities there have been different attempts of this scam including missing jury duty and or identifying themselves as sheriffs, deputies, warrants departments, etc.
The Collections Unit does make telephone calls for defendants and grants the option to comply with active obligations that are discussed in detail over the phone. Most contact between the court and a prospective defendant will be through the U.S. mail. Persons receiving such a telephone call should not provide any requested information, and instead should hang up and contact their local police department.
Links to stories in the media of similar scams occurring across the country: