Sheriff's Office Warns of Josephine County Phone Scam

The scammer has apparently been calling residents and ordering them to buy prepaid cards...under threat of arrest.

Posted: May. 3, 2018 4:47 PM
Updated: May. 4, 2018 9:40 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Multiple people in Josephine County have reported receiving calls in an apparent phone scam on Thursday, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Office (JCSO).

According to the reports, a man has been calling from the number 541-507-5669 and pretending to be a deputy with JCSO. The man then claimed that there was an arrest warrant out on the receiver of the call for missed jury duty.

The caller claimed that the receiver should go buy Green Dot Moneypak prepaid cards in order to somehow pay down the warrant and avoid arrest.

JCSO says that calling the scam number brings the caller to an automated recording with a female voice.

When NewsWatch 12 called the number at the time of this article's publishing, it was still active. The automated female voice claims to be with the Josephine County Sheriff's Office before advising the caller that the department has a new system for processing citation payments "due to the rising trend of credit card fraud and identity theft."

The new JCSO system, the recording claims, is the Moneypak verification processing system—intended to "protect the department's integrity" by not directly taking personal info, and instead using Moneypak cards. The recording then asks the caller to wait for the next available deputy while launching into a snappy rendition of Dave Brubeck's jazz classic Take Five.

NewsWatch 12 was never connected with a "deputy." Instead, the recording urges you to leave a message—presumably, with your Moneypak card info.

In a statement, the real JCSO insists that the actual department's phone system features the voice of Sheriff Dave Daniel, and offers relevant options for divisions within the office. There is no option to pay by phone for any service.

According to JCSO, law enforcement does not operate in the fashion that the scammer is using. Citizens are never solicited by law enforcement for money so that they can avoid arrest.

JCSO urges the public to remain vigilant and report any potential scams they encounter. Never provide financial or personal information to anyone unless you are certain of their identity.

(Note: JCSO's real non-emergency line is 541-474-5123)

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