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Dauphin County DA, commissioners issue telephone scam alert

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HARRISBURG, PA.(WPMT) –  Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico and Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III are warning residents about a telephone scam in which a caller impersonates a federal employee and requests $500 for “outstanding warrants.”

On Friday, a Harrisburg woman received a call from a man who identified himself as Captain Gary Johnson of the Federal Warrants Division. The caller, who had a southern accent, said she had a warrant for failure to appear for jury duty and contempt of court, each carrying a $250 fine, and to pay the money through a pre-paid card to have the warrants removed. After she paid the money, a different male caller contacted her requesting an additional $500 because payment was not received.

“We are investigating this scam and will prosecute anyone attempting to steal money in this fashion,” said Marsico.

“If you receive a call like this, or any suspicious call, please contact your local law enforcement agency to report it,” said Haste. “Do not give money or personal information out over the phone.”

“Although only one such call has been reported to us so far, there may be other we do not yet know about,” said Pries. “We urge anyone who has received a similar call to notify law enforcement.”

“Criminals, especially those looking to make a quick buck, may create elaborate schemes to take your money,’’ Hartwick said. “But if you know how to recognize scams and safeguard your personal information, you can avoid being a victim of theft.”

Dauphin County officials are working with federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this phone scam.

The commissioners and district attorney recommend the following tips to avoid being scammed:

• Always check out unfamiliar companies with your consumer protection agency, such as the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General or the National Fraud Information Center,
• Obtain a caller’s name, business, telephone number and address before you transact business,
• Don’t pay in advance for services,
• Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money,
• Don’t pay for a “free prize,”
• Never respond to an offer you don’t thoroughly understand,
• Never send money or give out personal information, such as credit card numbers dates of birth, or social security numbers, to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons, and
• If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.