WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. — The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a scam involving people posing as law enforcement to fraudulently obtain money.
It’s called the “Arrest Warrant Scam,” and Washoe County Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek said scammers are targeting vulnerable people such as the elderly and those new to the country.
Scammers telephone potential victims and identify themselves as a representative from a legitimate local law enforcement agency such as WCSO, Kuzanek said in a Friday statement.
The scammer tells the person there is a warrant out for his or her arrest, represented as anything from a traffic violation to failure to pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Options are either to surrender to the sheriff’s office for arrest, or pay a “reduced” payment of a fine to get rid of the warrant.
“Although the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will sometimes make calls to inform someone about a warrant, we never ask for payment over the phone or negotiate for payment in lieu of arrest,” Kuzanek said. “No agency in the region offers reduced rates or takes payments over the phone for warrants and fines.”
Scammers use pre-paid phones and often are not in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred, he said, making arrests difficult.
Anyone who receives a call should take down as much information as possible, such as a name and call-back number, without giving anything away. Then, immediately contact WCSO at 775-785-WCSO (9276).