Park County Sheriff’s Office alerts residents to phone scam

A scam has reappeared in northwest Wyoming, where a caller poses as a Park County Sheriff’s employee and demands cash or gift cards to avoid arrest, using the number of actual sheriff’s office phone.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook to confirm that its communications center had received multiple complaints about the same call – someone posing as a deputy or another employee. The scam caller says they have a warrant for your arrest or a subpoena that the victim didn’t obey.

To avoid being arrested, the “employee” demands collateral in the form of cash or gift cards.

The scammer “clones” the actual Park County Sheriff’s Office phone number – (307) 527-8700 – to make the call more legitimate – and threatening.

Although receiving such a call may cause panic and concern, there are several things to remember:

  • Mandate notification is never made by telephone. So if you get a call from the sheriff’s office, it won’t be to tell you about a warrant or tell you they’re coming for you.
  • No payment can remove an active warrant – if a warrant is issued against you, you are either arrested or the warrant is cancelled.
  • No legitimate employee of the sheriff’s office will ever ask you for money.

If you become the target of such a call, do not send or agree to send money. Instead, tell the “caller” that you will deal directly with the court, which you should do regardless of the circumstances.

If you would like to report a fraudulent call, call dispatch at 307-527-8700 or 307-754-8700 and confirm that you are speaking to a local law enforcement representative.

This isn’t the first time this particular scam has been reported in Park County. Several residents in November 2020 reported a similar scam.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers posed as COVID-19 contact tracers. Scammers have used the extensive information gathering process as an opportunity to collect sensitive information such as bank account or social security numbers.

Other scams have attempted to raise money using temporary utility bill discounts offered by some municipalities during the pandemic. No communities in Park County offered utility discounts at the time.

Many scams reported in recent years use local agency numbers to appear more authentic. For example, in October 2021, a scam was reported when crooks posed as the towns of Cody and Powell, attempting to get money for overdue bills.

Law enforcement agencies won’t address many of these issues in a phone call – a reliable indicator that the call is in fact a scam.

The easiest way to see if there is an active warrant for your arrest is to visit the Park County Sheriff’s website (and follow the “Warrants” link) or call Park County directly. Short Circuit at 307-527-8590.

Certain warrants are also issued by municipal courts:

  • Cody at (307) 527-7511
  • Powell at (307) 754-5106

It’s important to verify that you’re speaking to a law enforcement official before disclosing information or sending money, especially as scammers and their technology become more sophisticated and persuasive.

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About Laura J. Bell

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