The “jury duty” phone scam has evolved into “federal warrant” phone scam and continues to plague Ada County

Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies will never call and threaten to arrest you because you missed jury duty — or have a federal arrest warrant — or have an outstanding civil judgment — or anything like that.

Deputies will also never ask you to place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card to “cancel the arrest warrant” for missing that phony jury duty, or having a phony federal arrest warrant, or some other made-up charge.

Scammers will do that. In fact, they are doing it to Ada County citizens right now. They use phone numbers with a 208 area code and use the names of current ACSO employees to sell the ruse.

Anyone who calls you and says they are from the ACSO, and asks for your money to prevent an arrest — or tell you to go to “kiosk at the jail” to pay any fines— is not from the ACSO. They are scammers.

In the latest version, the callers pretend to be a sergeant from the ACSO and tell people they have outstanding federal arrest warrants.

They then threaten to arrest people if they don’t provide personal information over the phone. Sometimes, they order people to go to the jail to pay fines at an automated kiosk.

We don’t have a kiosk to pay fines at the jail. So when people go there and discover that, the imposters tell them they’ll have to pay their fines over the phone.

This is a variation of the same scam that has plagued Boise residents numerous times over the past three years. It used to be the scammers threatened to arrest people for missing jury duty. Now it’s all about the fake federal warrants.

Several dozen Ada County residents reported getting the phone calls this month. The mythical amount people “owe” has been anywhere from $495 to $4,000.

The scammers usually tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information. The “kiosk” twist is new.

The calls have 208 area codes and can appear to come from local businesses, a government agency, or even friends — but it’s really someone trying to get you to answer the phone.

The scammers get the numbers and make the calls over the internet with burner cell phones, making them very hard to trace.

The Better Business Bureau is aware of the scam and says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of identify theft by never giving out any personal information when getting an unsolicited phone call.

Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put you at risk for fraud.

If you did miss jury duty in Ada County, you would get a letter in the mail. If you had a civil judgment, you would be served in person, no over the phone.

No one from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office will ever ask for a credit card number to pay any kind of fine over the phone.

If you have received one of these scam phone calls, contact the Ada County Sheriff’s Office at 377-6790 or the Better Business Bureau online at BBB.org.

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