APD warns of new phone scam

Zaz Hollander

The Anchorage Police Department is warning the public: the jury-duty scam is back.

Since late August, APD has received a total of 57 reports of the "Jury Duty" scam and in some cases the complainants actually provided funds to the scammers - in one case thousands of dollars, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said in an emailed statement. Reports indicate the scammers are now using actual officer names.

This time, phony callers are sometimes pretending to be police Chief Mark Mew or Capt. Bill Miller.

Police in August warned the public about a similar scam involving callers pretending to be police officers who told targets they'd missed jury duty but could avoid arrest by buying officers pre-paid debit cards.

Police say they continue getting reports of the scam.

Back in late August, APD received more than a dozen reports of a scam where callers were pretending to be police officers with the Anchorage Police Department and stating that an arrest warrant had been issued for the call recipient for failing to appear at jury duty. The scammers instructing targets to go to a Walmart or Walgreens and provide a prepaid debit card to pay the fine for their alleged crime. In the cases early on, the scammers were using false officer names and false badge numbers.

So far, multiple phone numbers have been used by the scammers, Castro said; however, all of the lines are under an out-of-state carrier but begin with a 907-312-xxxx phone number.

Police suggest that people getting these calls get the scammer's phone number if possible and either way report them to the Anchorage Police Department at (907) 786-8900. It is also helpful to the get the phone number of the scammer, Castro said.

It's not APD procedure to make a phone call for an arrest warrant. To verify the identity of an APD officer, a resident can ask for the officer's full name and badge number, and then call APD Dispatch at 786-8900 to confirm the information.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.