Late last week, both the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office(YCSO) and the Prescott Police Department (PPD) were contacted by fraud victims regarding a phone scam in which suspects impersonate Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies.
In the YCSO incident, the victim received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as “Sgt. Michael Barnsworth” with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. The “Sgt.” announced that 2 misdemeanor warrants had been issued for her arrest because she failed to appear on a jury summons. The “Sgt.” indicated a follow-up call would provide further instructions.
A second call was received from a man identifying himself at “Lt. Jeff Johnson” with the Sheriff’s Office. The “Lt.” directed her to go to a local grocery store and purchase two “Green Dot” debit cards for $493 each. She was then told to call a 928-215 prefix to arrange payment and warned that if she contacted law enforcement directly, she would be “arrested on the spot.” She believed the circumstances were suspicious and call YCSO to find out it was in fact a scam.
Similar incidents were reported to the Prescott Police Department and detectives are investigating. It was also reported the callback number provided by the suspects results in a pre-recorded message imitating messages on some Sheriff’s Office business lines.
The police are asking the public to remember that “law enforcement agencies will never call to solicit payment on a warrant in this manner. The names provided by suspects may or may not represent a true person, and either way these calls are always fraudulent!”
The public is asked to contact your local police agency using their commonly published business phone number to report the fraud, if you receive one of these calls.