Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Fraud alert in the Las Cruces area

People in several states have reported receiving phone calls or emails informing them that they have an arrest warrant. A resident of Doña Ana County reported receiving a similar call. This communication is often part of a larger plan to steal money based on this deception.

As part of this scam, a person usually receives a phone call from someone posing as a law enforcement officer. The caller usually states that there is an arrest warrant against the recipient.

As technology advances, so too do scammers’ ability to tamper with caller ID data to show that the call was from a local law enforcement agency such as the Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office (DASO). Often times, the caller will claim that the warrant was due to failure to pay a debt, missed jury duty, or other minor offense.

The caller says that a fine is due and that the warrant will be carried out if it is not paid in full. Usually the recipient of the call is asked to transfer money or, in this local case, buy a package of gift cards.

We encourage residents to be on the lookout for variations of this warrant fraud. There are several red flags that can alert individuals to a potential scam of this type. The police do not normally call people to tell them that they have an arrest warrant. Instead, the police will likely appear in person to arrest a suspect. If the debt is valid, the recipient will usually receive a certified letter stating that legal action is being taken.

No law enforcement agency accepts gift cards as a form of payment. Another potential warning sign that individuals are being defrauded is soliciting payment for a debt they do not know, refusing to provide the company name for the alleged debt owed, refusing to provide contact information, or refusing to disclose in writing.

Report phone fraud online to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also call 1-877-382-4357 (TTY: 1-866-653-4261). The FTC is the primary government agency collecting fraud complaints.

Information from Doña Ana County

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