PORTLAND, Oregon - Police have received several reports from local residents who have received telephone calls from persons claiming to be Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputies. The caller is telling people that they have missed jury duty in Multnomah County and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The caller goes on to say the person needs to pay up to $900 to clear the warrant or face arrest. The caller instructs the victim to buy pre-paid or pre-loaded money cards. These cards can be used like credit or debit cards. The caller also instructs the victim to call them back at a phone number to provide the account information from the purchased cards.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office does not call people on the telephone to inform them that a warrant has been issued for missing jury duty. In fact, warrants are not issued for people that fail to appear for jury duty in Multnomah County.
Additionally, Sheriff's Deputies do not call citizens and tell them they need to buy prepaid cards or provide any financial information.
These types of scams play on the trust the public. Jury duty is an important civic duty and the people making these scam phone calls are using people's sense of responsibility to commit crimes. If anyone has questions about jury service they are encouraged to call the court's jury coordinator.
Impersonating a law enforcement officer is also a serious crime. A person can always ask for a deputy or officer's ID number (DPSST number) and speak to supervisor, especially if they do not understand the information a deputy is giving. Investigators have not discovered anyone at this point who has lost money to this scam.
If anyone receives similar solicitations from persons claiming to be with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office please contact the MCSO tip line at 503-261-2847.