Yavapai County residents targeted by phone scammers
YAVAPAI COUNTY – Recently, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous reports from residents stating that they have been called by a man claiming he was with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and demanding payment on a warrant for failure to appear for jury duty.
Fortunately, most of the victims were aware of media reports regarding the scam and simply hung up on the suspects. But on Jan. 9, a Prescott resident lost $785 in the scam. The phone number appeared with a local area code, and detectives are working to track the number’s origin.
The Prescott victim told deputies that she received a call on her cell phone from a “Frank Davenport” around 10:30 that morning who claimed he was with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. The suspect told her there was a failure to appear and a contempt of court warrant out for her arrest because she did not show up for federal jury duty. The victim was travelling south on I-17 at the time of the call; the suspect transferred her to a “Mr. Rhodes” and he stayed on the phone with her until she reached a bank in Sun City. As directed by the suspect, she withdrew $785 from her account then purchased two PayPal prepaid credit cards at a local convenience store. After sharing the account numbers with the suspect, he told her to take the cards with the receipt, a phone bill with her address on it, and her odometer reading to YCSO on the following morning to have the warrant cleared up. By the time she realized she had been scammed, the money was removed from both credit cards.
YCSO stresses again that neither the sheriff’s office or any court officer will ever demand payment on a warrant by phone while demanding the use of pre-paid debit cards. Always verify such demands by calling back on a published number for the agency involved.
This scam which has been going for years, and similar cases have happened in recent months. In some cases, the scammers use the names of sheriff’s officers, impersonating them. YCSO warns residents not to be fooled by this impersonation scam – again, always verify such demands by calling back on a published number for the agency involved.
YCSO warns that these scammers often are able to obtain complete personnel data on individuals from hackers who routinely sell such information via underground web sites. If in doubt, verify any claim by contacting the court/sheriff’s office/police department using published phone numbers. Also note that scam suspects also have the ability to spoof phone numbers, which will appear on caller ID screens as authentic to the government agency.
YCSO is asking the public to share this information with family and friends so that this scam can get stopped in its tracks.