Following another reported phone scam attempt to get money for a non-existent arrest warrant, Oregon State Police (OSP) is again urging everyone to be aware of scammers making these calls to Oregon residents. OSP and the Oregon Department of Justice warn these calls are fraudulent and should be ignored.
On July 16, 2013, OSP was notified by a Mosier-area resident that he received a phone call from a person identifying himself as "Deputy James Anderson with the Oregon State Police". The caller provided a badge number, said the man had a warrant for his arrest, and directed him to call a "410" area code phone number to speak with a "Jason Washington".
An OSP detective, posing as the Mosier resident who received the call, called the phone number and spoke with a man who had a Middle Eastern accent and identified himself as "Jason Washington". The man was very persistent and had knowledge of the Mosier resident's personal information including his Oregon driver's license, social security number, and email address. He told the OSP detective to send $549 immediately, gave a bogus "case number", read an "affidavit" listing warrant charges, and directed the money be sent via Western Union or a reloadable prepaid card that could be obtained at a Rite Aid store. When asked for an address where the money could be sent, "Jason Washington" hung up.
Scammers claiming to be with OSP have previously placed calls to Oregon residents using similar threatening approaches and payment options. Since November 2012, some citizens reported calls from individuals claiming to be with OSP demanding money in exchange for dropping criminal charges or clearing arrest warrants. These callers have used titles of "Officer" and "Deputy".
Online information indicates similar calls have been made from the same area code "410" phone number during the last week to out-of-state residents. In some of these calls, the caller provides the same name and represents themself as a police officer from other state law enforcement agencies including Rhode Island, New Mexico, and California.
OSP reminds you to be aware that:
* OSP or any other legitimate law enforcement agency does not call citizens seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants.
* OSP does not call individuals and demand money from citizens under any circumstances.
* Individuals claiming to collect debts may try to instill fear in potential victims to persuade them to send money.
The Oregon Judicial Department advises that courts may use an independent collection service to collect unpaid monetary judgments and fines. If someone believes they are being scammed regarding an alleged unpaid traffic citation or other court-imposed financial obligation they can:
* Ask the collector (caller) for information specific to the alleged warrant or unpaid traffic citation. The caller should have the court case number, date of ticket and vehicle license number.
* Verify the debt or confirm other details by calling the OJD collections hotline at 1-888-564-2828.
* Use OJD Courts ePay to directly pay money owed to state courts for most traffic citations, civil fees or criminal fines (For more information go to www.courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OnlineServices/ePay/Pages/index.aspx.)
Reloadable prepaid cards and similar cash-load cards have been the focus of scammers around the country to defraud unsuspecting people. Avoid reacting to requests requiring you to purchase reloadable prepaid cards, but if you do purchase one for any reason treat it like cash because unlike credit cards, transactions using these cards can never be reversed.
If you receive a similar call, disconnect without providing any information or taking any instructions from the caller. Contact your local Police Department, Sheriff's Office or Oregon State Police. You may also file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Office via the Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or complete an online Consumer Complaint Form anytime at http://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/complaint.aspx.