General Crime

Scammers Using Threat of “Failure to Appear” Warrants to Con People Out of Money

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Scammers are using the threat of a fictional warrant for failure to appear for jury duty to trick San Francisco residents out of their money, police said Tuesday. Residents have contacted police to say that they have received phone calls in which the caller claims that they have outstanding “Failure to Appear” warrants. The caller usually has detailed information that makes the claim sound convincing such as the victim’s name and true address and phone number and names of actual judges.

The victims are then told that they can clear the warrant immediately by either turning themselves in at a specified location, agreeing to have a sheriff’s deputy pick them up at their home or paying for the warrants over the phone. The caller seeks to convince the resident to use the phone payment method, and then instructs them to load a specific dollar amount on to a “Green Dot” payment card.

Once the victim gives the suspect the card information over the phone, the suspect is then able to access the account and empty out the funds. The caller then usually gives the victim a false court date to show up to finalize the clearing of the warrant. Warrants can not be cleared by paying over the phone using a Green Dot card, according to police. Those wishing to check on outstanding warrants and clear them correctly should contact the sheriff’s department central warrants bureau at (415) 553-1871.

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