Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court
FRAUD ALERT: Scammers reportedly using court information for chance at quick cash
The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court wants to remind residents that the court will never call demanding cash in exchange for not being arrested.
A number of people have contacted the court in recent weeks saying they have received such calls, with one woman saying that she even showed up to a Walmart parking lot to pay a “sheriff” eight-hundred dollars in exchange for not being arrested on her outstanding court costs and fees.
“What’s really alarming is that these scammers reportedly not only know the name of the person they are calling, but they are citing actual case numbers, referencing the names of current judges and going by names of actual sheriff’s deputies,” said Court Executive Officer Robert L. Padilla. “The court will only notify you by mail of outstanding fines and fees through a court-issued summons or warrant. There are three ways to make a payment to the court; online, by mail or in-person. We, nor law enforcement, will ever ask to meet you at a location off-site for payment.”
Another route scammers are taking is saying that the person has failed to appear for court as either a defendant or alleged victim and must pay an amount to avoid a deputy going to their home for arrest. Again, the court mails notices of hearings or a summons to appear for court. If a bench warrant is issued for failure to appear or non-compliance, it will be mailed. If you have a case pending with the court, it’s always a good idea to verify that the court has a current mailing address for you.
“We have contacted the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and the State Auditor’s Office to report the calls we have received. There’s a lot of public information available online these days, and scammers can sound legitimate by stringing a few things together. If you suspect that something doesn’t sound right, please call the court at (505) 841-8151 to verify,” added Padilla.