Bench Warrant Scam

A Security Scam by Sally Shabaker

This scam is prevalent now in various part of Chester County where residents are targeted by bogus phone calls and threatened with arrest by Deputy Sheriffs on a bench warrant for failing to report for jury service in Chester County Court. Sometimes the caller ID is faked so that it appears the call actually comes from a sheriff’s office number. Other times, the caller simply overwhelms the targeted victim by using official sounding rank and titles from the so-call “Warrant Department.” To avoid the threat of a bench warrant being served, the person answering the phone is told to go to a convenience store or pharmacy to purchase pre-paid greendot MoneyPak cards in amounts ranging from $300 to $1500, and then call the scammer back with the MoneyPak card numbers.

Be aware. The Chester County Court does not require anyone to purchase any kind of monetary device to avoid arrest. Contact between the court and jurors is made through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers or any other kind of sensitive information.

If you receive a call requesting money, notify the Jury Services Office (610-344-6174) or the Chester County Sheriff (610-344-6855.)

“It is now possible for devious people to manipulate caller IDs, so don’t accept at face value that the call is actually coming from the number on the caller ID,” Marc says. “Just because you think it’s safe, you can never be sure it is reliable.” In addition, Marc advises people not to answer a call if they don’t recognize the caller ID.