SCAM ALERT: Warrant scam surfaces again using real officers' names
By Matt Mershon
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - It's a scam that had resurfaced over and over and now it has resurfaced once again, but this time it's personal for Pulaski County Sheriff's deputies. A man calling saying he's an officer and there's a warrant out for your arrest, but this time they're using an actual officer's name. When someone calls your house and says there's a warrant out for your arrest, regardless of wrong doing, you get a little nervous. "It's concerning and you want to make sure to do whatever you need to do to clear that up," said Tara Smith, a previous victim interviewed by Seven on Your Side, back in March. But when the scammer called Smith, the caller used a fake name. This time though, the call is supposedly coming from Lt. Richard Powell, a real officer with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office. "People are going to recognize the name and that adds validity to it," said Lt. Carl Minden, public information officer for the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office. "That's what worries us about people maybe falling for this scam." The scammer has gone as far as creating a fake badge number. Lt. Minden says the same scam has been going on in Saline County, using a SCSO officer's name. In Pulaski County, the scammer has also used other officers' names and even the Sherwood Police chief's name as well. Calls typically start out by saying the victim is under arrest due to a warrant being issued for missed jury duty, even blowing through a red light. The warrant and charges will all go away, according to the scammer, by purchasing pre-paid debit cards for various sums of money and then dropping the cards off at the sheriff's department. "These are things that we point blank don't do," said Minden. The two most recently scammed, or near scammed since they didn't fall for it, received calls from the same 501 number and were able to call it back. KATV's calls to that number didn't go through as the number had already been disconnected. Lt. Minden says scammers tend to use drop phones or pre-paid phones to make those calls and mentions any call from the sheriff's office will come from a uniform number. The use of drop phones makes it harder to track the criminal, but Minden mentions with repeated scams the scammer is bound to slip up. If you do receive a call like this, you're urged to call local law enforcement.
KATV ABC 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas covers news, sports, weather and the local community in the city and the surrounding area, including Hot Springs, Conway, Pine Bluff, Jacksonville, Sherwood, Stuttgart, Benton, Bauxite, East End, Scott, Pinnacle, Maumelle, Gibson, Landmark and Hensley.