Scam Alert: Callers threaten legal trouble if not paid immediately

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Valley woman did not fall for a phone scam and she wants to make sure other seniors don’t either.

Clare Doyle, 66, said she received an odd voicemail from a woman Wednesday.

The woman, who claimed her name was Victoria Wilson and with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, threatened that someone was going to stop by Doyle’s home to serve legal paperwork. The caller left her name, a case number, and a phone number to call.

“It sounded legit enough to get me to worry about it,” said Doyle.

However, she started to get suspicious.

The number she called back had an 832 area code, which is not local.

Curious, Doyle called back and reached a “resolution center.” The man on the other line told her she had a claim against her for a 2010 payday loan and she owed $3,000.

Doyle said she was unemployed in 2010 and there was no way she would’ve taken out a payday loan.

That was one of several red flags.

The man on the line also told her she could avoid legal trouble by paying the interest she owed.  

Luckily, she didn’t pay.

“It just worried me and there are other seniors that are out there and would get scared by those tactics and pay it right then,” she added.

Doyle hung up and called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to verify if the department had an employee by that name. She was told they didn’t. They advised her to file a report with the Attorney General’s Office, which she plans to do.

AZ Family reached out to MCSO about Doyle’s case. A spokesperson said, unfortunately, scams like this take many forms and unfortunately, scammers often impersonate law enforcement figures.

MCSO explained in an e-mail:

“The Sheriff’s Office does have a Civil Process Section in the Judicial Enforcement Division that has plain clothes Detectives that serve process on behalf of Superior Court and out of State Courts.  These detectives will leave business cards with the contact information and will actually go to the home or work of the person we are to serve.  We do not ever collect payment over the phone and we do not threaten to obtain arrest warrants for non-payment of debts.  We do collect on civil matters that have valid judgments already adjudicated out of Maricopa County but again we do not collect over the phone.  On a rare occasion (15 in all of 2017) a subpoena to appear is issued for a citizen that failed to show for Jury Duty (also known as a Scofflaw Subpoena) however no money is ever sought on these as a surety or a bond and the person will be physically served by a Detective in our Division.”

“If there is any member of the community contacted over the phone in regards to these types of issues, they should seek as much information as possible, never make a payment and contact their local law enforcement agency and have an official inquiry made as to the facts and circumstances as a potential fraud scheme,” said Mark Casey, director of public information for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. ”Every Law Enforcement Agency in Maricopa County can assist their residents in verifying the actual court process service as opposed to this reoccurring scam.”

In August, MCSO sent out a press release notifying Maricopa County residents about scammers posing as a sergeant, notifying them of missing jury summons, and to avoid arrest, they were told must pay a fine using money and cards.

[READ MORE: Scammers targeting Maricopa County residents]

If you’re a victim of a scam similar to this, call MCSO at 602-876-TIPS.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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