Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison is hoping a warning to residents will spare them from becoming the victims of a scam, after he himself was recently contacted by an unknown source and asked to pay restitution on a so-called outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Garrison said a phone message was left last week on his direct line at the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department main headquarters in Las Cruces. The message, which sounded like an automated voice recording with a thick, foreign accent, stated the sheriff had an outstanding warrant in Clark County, Nevada, and urged Garrison to take care of a $1,895 balance before he was arrested.
A Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy working with the FBI posed as Garrison and traced the call to New York. The deputy made contact with an operator who asked for Garrison’s credit card information. The deputy instead offered to send cash and asked for a direct address, at which time the caller stated there must have been an error and abruptly ended the call.
“This is yet another scam that’s circulating around our area,” Garrison said. “Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources to trace calls and get more information. The lesson here is to never believe an unsolicited call that asks for credit-card payment on a warrant. If you have a warrant, you will either be contacted through the mail or you can contact any local magistrate or district court to verify that information.”
Garrison urges anyone in the Doña Ana County area who suspects they might be the victim of phone fraud to report the incident to local law enforcement.