Warrant scam becoming more elaborate, officials say

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Outagamie County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about an warrant scam that's going around the area.

The office has received several complaints about suspicious phone calls from scammers trying to collect on a non-existent federal warrant or a jury duty warrant.

This scam isn't new, but the sheriff's office says it is becoming "more elaborate." Several people are involved in the attempt to scam people out of their money.

The scammers have been identifying themselves as "Lieutenant Mitchell" and "Officer Mitchell" and the call sometimes involves a woman named "Miss Franklin."

The scammers threaten a victim with arrest if the warrant is not immediately paid. The scammers tell the victim to go to a store and buy a pre-paid debit card to pay it off.

"The caller will ultimately ask the victim to travel to the Sheriff’s Office to use a kiosk where they can pay for their warrant at that location. The final step of the scam is to ask for the victim to verify the numbers on the money pack cards with them on the phone. Unfortunately, once this final step is taken, whatever money was placed on the cards by the victim is in the hands of the scammer," officials say.

The sheriff's office says this scam is happening in prisons and jails where inmates have smuggled in mobile phones. The scammers are laundering these funds through pre-paid cards and gift cards, which are almost impossible to trace.

The sheriff's office says it will not ask you to pay off a warrant over the phone.

"All official business, especially pertaining to the service of warrants by the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office, is handled in person," officials say.

If you have a question about this scam, call the sheriff's office at (920) 832-5279.