CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has issued a warning about a telephone scam in which a person receives a call alleging there is a warrant out for his or her arrest, but the charges will be dismissed if the person pays a fine over the phone. The state Supreme Court of Appeals recently received word of someone posing to represent the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Office. The scammer informs citizens they have outstanding arrest warrants alleging they failed to appear for federal grand jury and would be held in contempt of court before a federal judge in Nicholas County. The scammer asks the citizen for their cell phone number in order to pay the outstanding arrest warrants. If the citizen doesn’t have a cell phone, they are told to buy a prepaid credit card so the money can be transferred onto it.
Other suspicious aspects of the call include its off-hour timing and its origin from an unidentified wireless number. The scammer also misrepresents the judge’s title and indicates a federal courthouse was located where none exists.
“Many people do all they can to stay out of legal trouble,” Morrisey said. “As a result, receiving a call of that nature can be unnerving. It’s important to know no law enforcement agency will make initial contact over the phone.”
Morrisey said citizens who receive a call like this should call their local circuit clerk’s office and sheriff’s department to verify that they have not missed a jury summons. Circuit clerk numbers are listed on the West Virginia judiciary website at http://www.courtswv.gov/public-resources/court-information-by-county.html.
If the call turns out to be false, citizens should file a report with local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-880