Officials warn of new phone scam; caller claims to be jail employee

(WISH Photo)

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – Authorities are warning people about a new scam in central Indiana targeting people who recently posted bond to get out of jail.

At least one victim of the scam lives in Hancock County.

An attorney told prosecutors his client received a phone call from someone claiming to work at the jail. The person said there was a problem with the bond payment and asked for more money, saying if the payment wasn’t made, a new warrant would be issued for the client’s arrest.

In this case, the victim provided a credit card number and made payments with at least one money order.

However, the Hancock County prosecutor says it was all a scam.

“The jail is not going to call people and essentially say, ‘You owe us more money,’ or, ‘Oops, if you don’t do this, there is going to be a warrant issued for you,’” said Brent Eaton, Hancock County prosecutor.

But the scam phone call sounds believable. In this case, the person claiming to be a jail employee stated the original charges filed against the victim, along with the date the person bonded out and the amount they paid.

Prosecutors say Hoosiers should be careful not to fall for it, though, because all of the information included in the call is public — available online.

“We want to be transparent. We want to make sure people have an eye on what we are doing, and we think it is important the public know what happens in their court system. At the same time … sometimes because it is available to everyone, people will look at that and try to use that for bad reasons,” said Eaton.

Currently, investigators are not sure if those responsible for this scam are local, but anyone else who thinks they may be a victim is asked to call police.

“Just because someone may have had a situation where they had to bond out of jail, if this happens to them if they contact law enforcement, they will follow up. They will investigate because law enforcement does not want this to happen again,” said Eaton.

The prosecutor also said once you post bond, any communication regarding your case will come from the court system. It will likely come through the mail rather than a phone call.

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