Fairfax County Sheriff warns of phone scam demanding money to avoid arrest

FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA/AP) — The Fairfax County Sheriff's Office is warning of a new phone scam from callers claiming to be deputies.

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Callers are telling people there is a warrant out for their arrest and they must pay a fine by credit card over the phone to avoid going to jail.

The amounts sought have ranged up to $1,000.

The department says it will never ask for money over the phone.

"The sheriff's office or any other law enforcement in this county would ever call demanding money or threatening arrest because someone missed court," said Lt. Steve Elbert, whose name has been used by some of the phone scammers.

There have been reports of these types of scams taking place across the region and around the nation since April, according to Associated Press archives.

Fairfax County authorities offered these tips to avoid becoming a victim of this latest scam:

• Contact the court yourself if there is any doubt.

• Be skeptical if someone asks/demands you pay with a Green Dot Moneypack, Western Union, or any electronic wiring service.

Report suspicious or harassing calls to police online.

• Remember, once money has been wired/sent, it is impossible to recover.

Click here for more information on common scams.