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Fake arrest warrant phone scam continues to plague Ada County

Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies will never call and threaten to arrest you because you missed jury duty — or have a civil judgment — or have a tax bill due — or anything like that.

Deputies will also never ask you to deposit money in a Bitcoin or Coinstar machine — or place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card— to “cancel the arrest warrant.”

That is all part of a continually evolving scam that just keeps popping up in the Treasure Valley.

We’ve had numerous reports this week of scammers pretending to be ACSO deputies – one of the names they’ve used is “Sgt. Eric Bradley,” someone who has never worked here — who use phone numbers with a 208 area code to sell the ruse.

The latest version is where the scammers ask people to deposit money at Bitcoin on Coinstar machines found in convenience or grocerty stores – and then send that money to a virtual wallet on the machine.

Sometimes they tell people to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.

Once that money gets into the internet, it’s incredibly hard to get back – or even track.

In reality, if one of our deputies had to issue an arrest warrant or file a civil judgment, they would try to find you in person and leave cards with call-back numbers on them several times before calling – and that would be to set up a meet.

They will never ask you to wire or transfer money electronically. That is a sure sign of the scam.

The scammers make the calls over the internet, making them very hard to trace.

The Better Business Bureau is aware of the scam and says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of identify theft by never giving out any personal information when getting an unsolicited phone call.

Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put you at risk for fraud.