DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of Dauphin County of a phone scam that has been making its way around the county.

According to the office, scammers are telling their victims that they are in contempt of court for failing to show up for jury duty or other various reasons at the Dauphin County Courthouse. The scammers also state that a judge has issued an arrest warrant and that the victim will be taken to jail.

The sheriff’s office notes that the scam is using the real names of deputy sheriffs, investigators, and judges employed at the Dauphin County Courthouse.

Scammers will tell victims that they must report to the courthouse with $2,000 or they will be detained. The scammers request that the money be received by way of prepaid Visa cards or Money-Pak cards in $500 increments at local businesses. The scammer will also tell the victims they must stay on the telephone the entire time while the victim drives to the store to purchase the cards.

The Sheriff’s Office said that these calls are bogus and do not originate from their office. Their office will never require anyone to provide sensitive information in any telephone call or to purchase any kind of monetary device to avoid arrest.

This is a very deceptive scam and very hard to trace, due to the scammers spoofing real phone numbers of the sheriff’s office, which makes the scam seem legitimate.

“Our citizens are generally quite conscientious and civic-minded, so they serve as jurors when
asked,” Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas President Judge John F. Cherry said. “If someone fails to arrive for jury duty, the person receives a call asking about the circumstances and then, if that call isn’t answered, will be visited by sheriff’s deputies at home. The sheriff’s deputies will have the appropriate identification and badges, so there would be no mistake about who is at the door.”

People receiving a suspicious call or phone message should immediately file a complaint regarding these scams by calling their local police or the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s toll-free helpline number at 800-441-2555.