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Near-Victim Of Jury Duty Scam Speaks Out

REDMOND, OR -- Law enforcement-related scams are getting even more sophisticated and believable. Agencies around the state have issued warnings about the "jury duty scam," but reports of the calls continue to increase. A cluster of reports from Central Oregonians came in over the holidays, and one local woman found out the hard way just how realistic these calls sound. 

Treana Holsey was navigating the busy holiday season and packing up her Redmond house to move, when a man called on a Saturday, claiming to be a Deschutes County Deputy. "There was a warrant - a standing warrant for my arrest," she tells KBND News. He said she'd signed papers agreeing to serve on the Grand Jury but failed to show up, leading to $2,500 in fines. "His legal jargon was very professional. Pretty on-point. There are things I just don’t know about the law, so I was listening and taking things into consideration."

She was skeptical, telling him several times it sounded like a scam. He offered to send her a copy of the warrant, "He texted it to me. And it was this legal-looking document with my name on it. So every time I challenged it, he had an answer that seemed possible."

Holsey was told to pay the fine at a local kiosk, then take the receipt to the courthouse, "He gave me the courthouse address. I looked it up; it was accurate. He had my name, my address." She adds, "My husband asked to speak to his supervisor, so someone else came on the line. I mean, it was quite the play. They had a lot of good answers." 

She didn't send any money and the man on the phone grew frustrated, telling her to just come to the county courthouse. On the way to Bend, her husband called county authorities, "That guy could hear my husband on the phone and he started getting mad, ‘who’s your husband talking to?’" Then, she says, "The lady on the other line is like, ‘hang up.’"

Holsey disconnected with the scammer but he called back, "They actually left a message. They threatened to kill me." In fact, the man claimed he was sitting outside her house and would only leave if she paid up. A real Deschutes County Deputy followed up with Holsey and confirmed there was no warrant. 

In total, Holsey believes she was on the phone with him for an hour. She hopes the time  the scammers spent with her protected others from getting taken. 

Authorities say this is a common ploy. Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz tells KBND News his name has even been used in recent scam calls. Law enforcement will never demand payment for fines over the phone. And if you do have a warrant, an officer or deputy will likely come to your door. 


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