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Garland County Sheriff's Department

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Garland County Sheriff's Department Reports & Reviews (1)

- Hot Springs Village, AR, USA

My wife answered a phone call from a Little Rock, Ark. number showing on the caller id 501-295-7757 and the person on the phone identified himself as Lt. Richard Powell of the Garland County Sheriff's Office. He told her she had failed to appear for jury duty on April 27 and he had been given a warrant for her arrest. I heard her talking to the guy and asked about it and she told him to hold and told me. I got on the phone and told him I thought it was a scam and asked for his name, address and phone #, he told me Lt. Richard Powell with the Garland County Sheriff's Office, 525 Quachita Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901 and gave me the phone # 501-295-7757. I told him I would call him back to make sure that it wasn't a scam and I hung up and called him back and he answered the phone. At this point, I no longer thought it was a scam. He told me she had two choices, come down to the office and post a bond that we would get back when we came before the judge, or be arrested for failure to appear. Of course I chose the bond, and asked him what I had to do. He told me the bond was to be paid by Money Pak (I had never heard of this) and I asked where I could purchase one and he told me to go to Walgreens. I asked if we could pay using a credit card or check and he told me that to many people wrote checks with no money in the bank and that I would have to purchase a Money Pak, that I was to get two cards and put $250 on each card, but I could hold the cards until the court date. I told him we would have to go to the bank to get money and he said "You'll have to take your cell phone with you and stay on the line with me". When I asked him why, he stated that they had 250 warrants to be issued and that most of them would flee before the bond was paid and that I had to stay on the line with him until I got to the sheriff's office. Again sounded real. We went to the bank and got $500 and he told me to let him know when we got to Walgreens's. When I parked, he told me that I didn't have to tell anyone about what was going on because he wasn't interested in embarrassing us, just purchase two cards for $250 each and let him know when we had them. At this point, I told him we were about an hour from Hot Springs and he said, "I'll contact the Village police department and arrange for you to go there, I'll fax the information to them". I went in and got two cards and when I got back in the car, he said "I'm online with Money Pak and need to verify that you have the cards with the correct amount of money" and then had me scratch the numbers on the back of the cards and read them to him. Because of the fear factor involved and the intimidation of talking to the sheriff's office, I complied with his request thinking the whole time that this is not a scam, it is very real and my wife is going to be arrested if I do not comply. When I read the numbers to him, he told me to then go to the village police department and see Sergeant Wilson, who he had faxed the information to. He then told me that Sergeant Wilson would call me on the way and he hung up. 30 seconds later the phone rang again and it was Sergeant Wilson and he asked me to come to the police station and let him know when I got there. I told him we were driving into the parking lot and he said, "I'm out on a call, but I'll be there in about five minutes - just sit in your car". When he hung up I thought, I'll go in just to make sure they have a Sergeant Wilson and when I went into the office, of course, they told me it was a scam right away and that there wasn't a Sergeant Wilson. The first guy had to be online with Money Pak or had some way to know that I had the funds on the cards and had already cashed them. After reporting the scam to the police department, I came home and got on the computer and went to Money Pak's web site and reported the scam on their "fraud email system" and sent them pictures of the receipts that they requested. As of this morning, I have not heard anything back from Money Pak but I sent them another email and asked them to have someone call me if they were serious about trying to keep people from using their cards as scams.

As an after thought, it was so real the fear factor was what kept me from thinking clearly - the guy even had empathy that we were so civic minded still serving jury duty at our ages and said he would put in a notice to remove us from every having to serve jury duty - he said the age limit was 65 and after that it was voluntary. He was really good and had me convinced that it was real. He even made sure that we didn't speed because he said that if we got stopped by a policeman that there was an arrest warrant out for my wife and he would explain to the policeman what we were doing if we got stopped.

If you need further information, please let me know.

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