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Phone scam rattles residents

A new scam has emerged in Faulkner County after the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office received numerous calls from residents regarding a scam.  

According to FCSO public relations officer Erin Stone, residents have been receiving calls from a man impersonating a judge or officer informing them of outstanding jury duty fines that will result in a warrent for their arrest. The caller proceeds to have residents pay hundreds of dollars over the phone by asking for bank and credit card information.

This scam has apparently been happening all over the country. A simple Twitter search for “jury duty scam” shows results for similar scams in states like Georgia, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Stone said that residents are falling into the callers trap because of the use of a local 501 area code number. The FCSO warns resident that the scammer has been using a 501-764-3664 number.

Residents that have not received a jury summons in the mail would obviously not have outstanding fees for not appearing. According to the United States Courts’ official website, before potential jurors are even summoned for service, they typically receive a questionnaire to determine whether they meet the legal qualifications for jury service.

According to federal law, ignoring a jury duty summons can result in a judge issuing a bench warrant. Bench warrants are non-emergency warrants that mean the cops will not come knocking at your door or call your phone, but it could result in an arrest if you get pulled over for a traffic violation because the officer will see it when they search you in their system.

Federal bench warrant laws state that any individual who is concerned about whether a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest have a few options for checking into it. The individual can check with the local court, or the local law enforcement agency. If there is worry that there may be an arrest if they appear in person to check on a warrant, they may attempt to call with questions. Many, but not all, courts and some police departments accept phone calls for warrant checks.

UCAPD public communications officer Michael Hopper said the campus police department has not received any calls regarding the ongoing scam so far. This isn’t the first scam UCAPD has tackled, a tax return scam involving falsified employee information happened a few years ago. Scams via email are most common on campus.

Hopper advises UCA students to follow their first instinct when handling unknown calls that pressure them for money. Some preventative measures include writing down the caller’s name and number and searching to see if their number matches the title of judge or officer. Being that high ranking positions are a part of public record, it should be easy to figure out if the call is a hoax.

The best way to report suspicious calls to UCAPD is via the non-emergency phone number: (501) 450-3111 or via the new UCAPD app ‘safeatuca’ (compatible with Apple and Android phones).

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