PHOENIX (April 26, 2023) - The communication seems legitimate, and the documents appear to be official – but don’t be fooled by scammers requesting payment over the phone for a civil bench warrant.
The Maricopa County Superior Court is aware of a scam where individuals are representing themselves as peace officers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and threatening jail time for individuals who don’t pay the requested bond amount. In exchange for payment over the phone via Zelle, the scammer is promising to quash the civil bench warrant.
One caller reported that he was asked to pay $1,450 for failing to appear as an expert witness.
Members of the public should be aware that the Court does not use Zelle or seek payment over the phone to quash warrants. Generally, the Court may issue a civil arrest warrant if a person fails to appear at court after receiving actual notice of the need to appear or after a person is personally served with a subpoena to appear, including a warning that failure to do so may result in the issuance of a warrant.
If targeted by a scam, write down the phone number of the caller and notify your local law enforcement agency. Do not give the caller any personal information or agree to provide any payment. Scam perpetrators will do all they can to insist you stay on the phone with them the entire time. This is a red flag.
When in doubt, a person may verify their status by contacting the Superior Court in Maricopa County. For more information on warrants and what to do if you think you may have a warrant, please visit: https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/criminal/warrant-information/
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The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,000 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.