Montgomery County officials on Friday warned about a telephone scam involving a person who pretends to be in law enforcement and threatens victims with arrest if they don’t pay a large amount of money to clear a warrant for failing to appear in court.

The perpetrator, who can fake the number they are calling from and may have a Southern accent, impersonates a detective or sheriff and tells the victim that they have an active arrest warrant for not appearing for jury duty or failing to testify in a trial, for example.

The imposter then says the victim can pay an amount, typically around $1,800, at the Montgomery County Courthouse, but then switches the story and tells the victim they need to purchase a payment card from a pharmacy. If a card is obtained, the fraudster will later ask for the card number and pin.

“Montgomery County residents need to know that arrest warrants are never handled in this manner,” said District Attorney Kevin R. Steele in a statement.

“No money is involved if there is a warrant issued for someone’s failure to appear in court,” Steele said. “A failure to appear warrant must be handled in a courtroom in front of a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Anyone who has gotten one of these calls should alert Montgomery County Detectives that they received this call.”

People who have been victimized can call Montgomery County detectives at 610-278-3368.