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YCSO warns of suspect impersonating YCSO personnel

12/14/16

YAVAPAI COUNTY – The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a suspect who is impersonating YCSO personnel to extort money from victims.

Last week, a 60-year-old Prescott woman came to the Sheriff’s Office to follow-up on phone calls she had been receiving from a ‘Captain Mark Boan’ from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office demanding payment on a warrant for failure to serve jury duty. The calls started on Dec. 7, and the victim had already paid $2,000 via pre-paid Visa cards in an attempt to satisfy the bogus fine on the bogus warrant. She had come to the Sheriff’s Office to make sure the warrant issue was settled and learned she had been scammed. Unfortunately, she was not aware of the recent media campaign by YCSO that addressed these fraud calls.

Detectives are investigating this fraud. YCSO is asking the public to share this information with family and friends, saying they want to stop this scam in its tracks.

YCSO notes that on occasion the scammers may use the name of actual employees working for YCSO as was the case for ‘Dave Williams,’ who is a Lt. with YCSO. Don’t let this fool you – again, always verify such demands by calling back on a published number for the agency involved. 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.

YCSO has been contacted by another scam victim who reported receiving a call from a male suspect identifying himself as ‘Lt. Dave Williams’ from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. He told her she had a warrant for failing to appear regarding jury duty and was able to confirm the victim’s correct social security number, date of birth and home address. The victim also noted the suspect had called her cell phone. The quality of the information provided by the suspect made the exchange more believable to the victim, thus heightening concern she was in trouble.

The suspect provided a bogus court case number, his contact phone number with a 928 area code, and instructed the victim to appear in person at the Cottonwood Municipal Court at 6:30 p.m. Of course, the court would have been closed. Suspicious about the call, she told the suspect she would be calling the Sheriff’s Office directly to verify and he hung up. Detectives believe, based on similar past reports, that the suspect would expect a follow-up call from the victim after finding the court closed and then direct her to pay a fine via green dot/gift card/money order to quash the warrant.

Detectives called the suspect’s number and received a voice mail message. Detectives are investigating the source of this number.

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. This can make any initial scam call seem genuine.

Remember, law enforcement agencies and court officials will never call to solicit payment on a warrant in this manner. Names used by suspects in these calls may or may not represent a true person – either way, these calls are always fraudulent!