Police Warn of Bench Warrant Scam

Criminals are identifying themselves as employees of the Newport Beach Police Department, in hopes of scamming residents out of money.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

Con artists are targeting Newport Beach residents and threatening them with jail time if they don't pay for bogus bench warrants, officials said Thursday.

Residents have been contacted with a phone call by a suspect who claims to be a Newport Beach Police Department employee, and tells the resident there is a bench warrant out for their arrest because of a missed court appearance or jury duty summons, police said. In order to avoid getting arrested, the suspect tells the resident a fee must be paid immediately.

"We have confirmed one instance of this scam in the city, and there’s another possible instance that we have heard about," Jennifer Manzella, police spokeswoman, said. "No money changed hands in either case." 

Residents may receive several phone calls, asking them to pay the amount and a phone number is often left for the resident to call back. Officials said Newport Beach police would not place a phone call to arrange a payment in order for a person to avoid arrest.

Anyone who has been the victim of this type of scam is encouraged to call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949-644-3717. 

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