Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department warns residents about fraud alerts

In a recent news release, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stated that they have recently been made aware that there have been numerous phone calls made in an attempt to defraud citizens of funds.

It has been reported that the scam callers are claiming to be law enforcement officers and, in some cases, are using actual local law enforcement officers names from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Pine Bluff Police Department. These criminals are claiming the intended victim missed a court date or jury selection and a warrant has been (or will be) issued unless they pay a fine.

The caller then directs the citizen purchase a Green Dot prepaid credit card or other similar prepaid credit cards/gift card in order to avoid arrest. The scammers then arrange a meeting place to get the payment.

“We will in no case ask that a citizen pay any fine by credit card, PayPal, CashApp, etc.”, said Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. “We do not conduct this type of business over the telephone, and citizens should be very cautious not to provide any personal or financial details over the telephone.”  Sheriff Woods added, “If a person thinks that they owe a fine or has an inquiry about a warrant of arrest they should contact our office in person at 410 East 2nd Avenue, Pine Bluff, AR”.

One of the numbers that the reported scammers have called from is out of Hope, AR (870-397-7274).  Often these criminals use “burner” phones and the numbers that they call from may change frequently to avoid detection.

Tips to Avoid Scams:

  • Don’t answer a call from a number you do not recognize. Let it go to voice mail and then listen to it later.
  • Robo-callers are used to verify that your number is a working number. Which opens you up to receiving other scam calls.
  • If you do answer and it’s a robot-caller or believe it to be a scam, just hang up without saying anything. Don’t press any buttons or give any information.

As an additional reminder, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the telephone.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal or financial information.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the telephone or email.
  • Demand that you meet someone to make a payment away from the window at our administrative offices.

To report fraud calls of this type, contact our non-emergency dispatch (MECA) at 870-541-5300, or our Criminal Investigation Division at 870-541-5496.  Also, the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office has resources and additional tips that can be found at https://arkansasag.gov/consumer-protection by emailing consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or by calling 800-482-8982.