Los Alamos County has received complaints from citizens about a phone scam that has been making the rounds in New Mexico communities for the past year and which appears to be actively occurring here with phone calls in Los Alamos.
In the latest version of the scam, residents receive a phone call and are informed there is a warrant out for their arrest because they had been summoned for jury duty and failed to appear. The caller then states aggressively that the resident needs to “pay for the fines over the phone” or “wire money to an account” and resolve a warrant fee to clear the arrest.
The return phone number of the caller may even have been programmed as part of the scam to display in Caller ID enabled phones as being from the local or state’s Sheriff’s Office or Los Alamos Police Department to make the call seem legitimate. The public should be advised that no state or local government or law enforcement agency would ever contact the public in such a manner and request money to be paid.
Versions of this scam vary across the U.S. and have been around for many years; they are intended to bully and frighten the recipient of the call into paying money quickly under a high pressure, intimidating phone call situation. They can especially target the elderly population.
Some versions of the scam include the caller pretending to be an IRS employee telling residents they owe taxes that must be paid over the phone, or that there is some other sort of law enforcement/criminal matter that can only be resolved by paying the fees over the phone with a credit card or wiring money to an account.
The common theme is typically a threat of issuing a warrant for their arrest if they fail to comply. If residents receive any kinds of calls of this nature with the caller insisting that they pay fees over the phone with a credit card or wiring money to an account or else face being arrested, they should hang up immediately.