A Minden resident who will be referred to as ‘A,’ is the man who talked to scammers Thursday morning and contacted police.
“The first one who called identified himself as Sgt. Michael – I didn’t write down his last name, but he gave me a badge number,” said ‘A.’ “He told me that Judge (John C.) Campbell (retired) has issued a bench warrant and citation for my arrest because I did not show up in court as an expert witness in a case last week.”
When ‘A’ told the caller he was unaware of the situation, the caller said that on May 18, ‘A’ signed for a certified letter and court documents, as well as a summons to appear in court. When the caller suggested hand writing verification, he also told ‘A’ the charges were “Failure to Appear” and “Contempt of Court.”
“He gave citation numbers and said each one carries a charge of $4,000,” ‘A’ said. “He kept referring to Judge Campbell, and I thought about him (Campbell) being retired, but I thought maybe he isn’t.”
‘A’ said he was told he was on a recorded line and should not talk to anyone else about the situation because he was bound by privacy laws, including HIPAA.
“That didn’t make any sense to me,” ‘A’ said. “Then I told him that his number came up as No Caller ID. He was starting to ask questions that I didn’t want to share the answers. And I asked him how I would know he was legit.”
The caller hung up and called ‘A’ from the Minden Police Department phone number and asked ‘A’ to search online and verify that was the correct number. However, he then wanted to transfer ‘A’ to the original phone number, stating it was the number that was connected to MPD’s software and case recordings.
‘A’ disconnected with the scammer, who called him back from the No Caller ID number and “reminded him they would come arrest him” in a very stern and aggressive manner, while discussing criminal and civil law in a convincing manner.
When ‘A’ asked to speak to Chief Jared McIver or Deputy Chief Tokia Whiting-Harrison, he was told “Officer Whiting” was not available.
“He then transferred me to another guy who said he was Wayne Young and gave me another badge number,” ‘A’ said. “That’s when they talked to me about coming to the police station to do a signature test.”
However, when ‘A’ informed them he was in the police station parking lot, the scammer who identified as Young became belligerent and told ‘A’ to leave right away or they would come out and arrest him.”
It was when the caller began to ask for financial and personal information so they could send ‘A’ two 6-digit codes, he became more suspicious. He muted the phone call and placed a call to Dep. Chief Whiting-Harrison. The scammer began yelling at ‘A,’ telling him he knew he had been muted and to unmute him immediately due to violation of yet another code. ‘A’ disconnected with the deputy chief and texted her instead. She came back with “SCAM,” ending the nightmare this had become for ‘A.’
“They knew where I live, they had my phone number,” he said. “I was afraid for my family.”
Scams like this are difficult to trace, however, McIver said if anyone else has a scenario such as this, to please contact Minden Police Department right away. If possible, record the conversation.
By Bonnie Culverhouse
The bad guys are learning new ways to scam people out of their hard-earned money.
Minden Police Chief Jared McIver said Thursday morning that a Minden man came to the police station with a story of his own.
“The scammers are calling and telling people they were supposed to show up as a witness in court today and didn’t, so there is a warrant out for their arrest,” McIver said. “They’re using a Minden Police Department number – that is what’s showing up on the caller ID.”
The number to which McIver referred is 318-371-4226.
“The caller is telling the person that if they step foot on Minden Police Department property, they will be immediately arrested,” he said. “Then they’re saying they can pay a fine over the phone – and that’s what tipped off this gentleman who came to MPD today.”
McIver said the man did not give them the amount he was asked to pay.
“Any amount is too much,” McIver said. “The Minden Police will not call you for that. If you have a fine, call us and come to the PD. We will not contact you over the phone for those fines.”
Not only was the scammer able to program the police department’s phone number to the caller ID, they had apparently done their homework.
“They knew our officers’ names; they knew my name,” McIver said. “We just really want the public to be aware this is happening and while it sounds legitimate, I promise it is not. Please don’t pay anyone over the phone.”