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Every year, like clockwork, scammers come out in force to separate hard working Oklahoman's and their money. From the IRS scam to the jury duty scam, these criminals prey on your lack of knowledge of the criminal justice system. The latest scam involves criminals calling unsuspecting victims and convincing them they have a warrant out for their arrest because they missed jury duty. This is one of the oldest scams in this modern internet era but also one of the most effective. They convince the victim, the only way to avoid arrest is to pay them using Green Dot cards or iTunes gift cards. The scammer tells the victim to go to a store, like Walmart, Target, Walgreen's or CVS, and put a certain amount of money (usually several hundred dollars) on the card. They will ask the victim to come to the courthouse and/or Sheriff's Office and call them back once they arrive. This is where the scammer separates the victim from their hard earned money. The scammer will tell the victim they had an emergency call and need them to read the numbers off the back of the card. Once they have the numbers from the card, they have your money. To add insult to injury, they tell the victim to walk into the courthouse/sheriff's office and ask for a receipt. We can tell you this has happened many, many, many times. The reaction from the victim when they discover they've been scammed is the same each time. They are embarrassed and mad at the same time. We do not want you to become their next victim. Here is how you can tell if you are being scammed.
1. The Sheriff's Office will NEVER ask you to give us money over the phone to settle a warrant or a fine or a court cost.
2. If we happen to call you because you owe money for an outstanding fine, we will instruct you to pay the fine at the courthouse or District Attorney's Office.
3. If you do have an outstanding warrant, we will arrest you. We will NOT accept payment to clear a warrant over the phone or in the field. That is for a judge to decide.Your payment (in the form of a bond) must be posted at the detention center.
If you are a manager or a checker at one of the store that sell these cards and see someone putting a large amount of money on a card please ask questions. Let the customer know about the scam. You may possible be the one who saves that person a lot of heartache. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Sheriff's Office asking you to pay them money for a warrant, hang up immediately. Better yet, do not answer calls from unknown numbers. In many cases the scammers are leaving messages asking you to call them. DO NOT call them back.
Finally, if are standing in line at the store, waiting to put money on a card to settle a warrant, take a deep breath and call the Sheriff's Office to confirm if you actually have a warrant.
Our warrant phone number is 405-713-1968.