Warrant scam returns to Cole County

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JEFFERSON CITY - An ongoing scam involving warrants has returned to Cole County, and the sheriff's department took action to prevent it from spreading further.

Sheriff John Wheeler released a statement Monday saying suspects have called people pretending to be from the sheriff's department and threatening to arrest them through an active warrant if they do not send a certain sum of money.

"That is not something that we do, ever. We do not take money over the phone. We do not call you with a warrant," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said if the Cole County Sheriff's Department has a warrant out for your arrest, they will come to your home.

The scam has popped up in Cole County a couple of times over the past three years. Wheeler said he sees it and then it goes away for a bit. Cole County resident Mary Callahan said she she received a call from a man a few months ago who knew her address and told her she missed a jury duty summons. She said it frightened her because the scammer sounded convincing.

Callahan did not fall for it. She spoke to her husband, a lawyer, and he called the sheriff's department.

"I wanted to get ahead of it... to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else," Wheeler said. 

Typically, the caller will ask people to put money onto prepaid Visa cards, according to Wheeler.

"I think it's just random numbers that they're calling. They might actually make a thousand phone calls and only get two or three people to actually bite and get them money," Wheeler said.

If you receive a call like this, Wheeler said you should hang up and also report it to the sheriff's department or police.