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The Skanner News
Published: 17 July 2013

The Oregon State Police says it has received its second complaint about a telephone scam targeting individuals who may be worried over their law enforcement history.

Scammers claiming to be with the state police are calling Oregon residents, demanding money in exchange for dropping criminal charges or clearing arrest warrants. These callers have used titles of "Officer" and "Deputy."

Law enforcement officials never call people on the phone asking for money to clear up warrants of any kind for any reason, officials say, and any such phone call should be ignored.

Such calls have been reported since last November. During the past week, similar calls have been made from a telephone using the Baltimore, Md. area code, "410." In some cases, the caller pretends to be a police officer from Rhode Island, New Mexico, or California.

Officials say that if you receive such a call, disconnect without providing any information or taking any instructions from the caller. Contact your local Police Department, Sheriff's Office or Oregon State Police. You may also file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Office via the Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or complete an online Consumer Complaint Form anytime.

Reloadable prepaid cards and similar cash-load cards have been the focus of scammers around the country to defraud unsuspecting victims. Avoid reacting to requests requiring you to purchase reloadable prepaid cards, but if you do purchase one for any reason treat it like cash because unlike credit cards, transactions using these cards can never be reversed.

The state police says on July 16, they were notified by a Mosier-area resident that a person identifying himself as "Deputy James Anderson with the Oregon State Police" called, providing a badge number. The caller said the victim had a warrant for his arrest, and directed him to call a "410" area code phone number to speak with a "Jason Washington."

According to the state police, a detective posing as the victim called the phone number and spoke with a man who identified himself as "Jason Washington."

"The man was very persistent and had knowledge of the Mosier resident's personal information including his Oregon driver's license, social security number, and email address," the department said in a statement.

"He told the OSP detective to send $549 immediately, gave a bogus 'case number,' read an 'affidavit' listing warrant charges, and directed the money be sent via Western Union or a reloadable prepaid card that could be obtained at a Rite Aid store. When asked for an address where the money could be sent, 'Jason Washington' hung up."

OSP reminds you to be aware that:

* OSP or any other legitimate law enforcement agency does not call citizens seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants.

* OSP does not call individuals and demand money from citizens under any circumstances.

* Individuals claiming to collect debts may try to instill fear in potential victims to persuade them to send money.

The Oregon Judicial Department advises that courts may use an independent collection service to collect unpaid monetary judgments and fines. If someone believes they are being scammed regarding an alleged unpaid traffic citation or other court-imposed financial obligation they can:

* Ask the collector (caller) for information specific to the alleged warrant or unpaid traffic citation. The caller should have the court case number, date of ticket and vehicle license number.

* Verify the debt or confirm other details by calling the OJD collections hotline at 1-888-564-2828.

* Use OJD Courts ePay to directly pay money owed to state courts for most traffic citations, civil fees or criminal fines.

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