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In telephone scam, callers threaten arrest

By Shara Park | Posted - Jan 23rd, 2013 @ 1:01pm


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CLEARFIELD — The Davis County Sheriff's Office is investigating a scam targeting Utah residents involving alleged bad checks.

According to the sheriff's office, scammers will call Utah residents claiming they are from various agencies in Davis County — like the sheriff's office or the court — and that the resident needs to pay on a bad check. The caller may even have some personal information about the resident, and threaten to arrest them if they do not pay.

One targeted resident, Sharon Bissell, got a strange message on her voicemail from someone she didn't know.

"He said, to the best of my recollection, that we would be put under arrest unless we called the number he left us," Bissell said.

The caller said Bissell owed money on a bad check and that unless she paid it in 24 hours a warrant would be issued for her arrest.

Her husband recognized it for a scam and called the authorities, who said they do not operate like that.

Think something is a scam?
Visit The Department of Consumer Protection's website, email them at consumerprotection@utah.gov or call them at 801-530-6601.

The Federal Trade Commission also has information about how to report a scam, and the current scams being reported.

"The sheriff's office, the courts, they don't call and tell people to call and send money or a warrant will be issued for an arrest," said Davis County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Susan Poulsen. "If a warrant is issued for an arrest, we will visit them in person."

Over the past few weeks, the Davis County Sheriff's Office has investigated several threats of arrests similar to the one made to Bissell.

They have traced three of the calls to area codes outside Utah. One of their investigators even talked to a scammer.

"When they were advised this was the sheriff's office calling, the scammers said it was a bad number, wrong number and hung up eventually," Poulsen said.

Wednesday morning, more residents came forward on the Davis County Sheriff's Office Facebook page saying they had received threatening calls with the caller stating they're from an agency in Davis County.

The sheriff's office has not had reports of anyone becoming a victim of the scam.

Bissell says hopefully no one will be.

"I'm angry about it, I don't like it. One of the reasons I agreed to do this (interview is) in hopes of preventing somebody from falling for it," she said.

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