Virginia residents latest to be targeted by "arrest warrant" phone scam

Kristen Walters
Cell phone showing unknown caller.Ronstik/Getty Images (Canva Pro license.)

The "arrest warrant" phone scam has been targeting vulnerable people nationwide for several months now. Law enforcement officials in Vermont, Georgia, and Maine have recently reported that residents of their states have been targeted in the scam.

However, a recent report by the Accomack Country Sherrif's office indicates that Virginia residents may be the latest target of the scam.

Here's what you need to know to protect yourself.

The scam uses "caller ID spoofing" to create a local number that matches your area code. This is used to make you think that the call is legitimate. If you answer the call, you may hear a recorded message or a live caller stating that they are calling from your local sheriff's department and that you have an outstanding arrest warrant due to an unpaid fine or some other reason.

The scammer often insists that you pay money to "clear the warrant" in the form of a credit card payment or by mailing a gift card to an address that they provide. These scam calls can be very unsettling and many Virginia residents have already fallen victim to this scam, some losing thousands of dollars.

What you need to know is that law enforcement officials will never call your phone to ask you for money. Arrest warrants and fines are always handled by the local or state court systems.

If you receive a call like this, it is best to hang the phone up immediately. Do not engage with the caller. You may report the incident to your local police department or contact them if you have any other questions or concerns.

Have you received one of these scam calls?

Let us know about your experiences, thoughts, and concerns in the comments.

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