Omaha victim cautions new twist in warrant scam demanding virtual strip search

It’s irritating when scammers call our cell phones several times a day but some con artists are so convincing that victims might do something unthinkable.
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 11:19 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s irritating when scammers call our cell phones several times a day but some con artists are so convincing that victims might do something unthinkable.

The threat of arrest can rob you of common sense.

“He essentially kept me in a state of stress, so I was not able to think about what I am doing,” said the warrant scam victim.

Scammers tell victims they can pay off a warrant with cash cards. Then to make it more convincing they have victims drive to a law enforcement office. There they discover there isn’t a warrant and their money is gone.

Warrant scammers on the phone have stooped to a shocking new low by convincing three victims they’re dealing with law enforcement and ordering them to flip to selfie mode. Then tell them they have to submit to a virtual strip search.

Sarpy County Sheriff’s Sgt. Blake Raughton says three victims have followed scammers’ orders.

“They hold the phone up where they have the phone pointed at them. The suspects are asking them to perform the motions of what is done in corrections settings as far as strip searches. So, they’re asking them to unclothe and show sensitive areas of their body,” said Raughton.

It’s not just on the phone. How scammers can be so convincing online is part of a UNO study that focuses on the eyes of someone reading spam and scam messages.

“This eye-tracking software helps us understand what about the phishing sample they’re looking at is drawing their attention to it. Our goal is to better understand how these phishing schemes are crafted and then we can actively counter them,” said Dr. Matt Hale, UNO cybersecurity.

Dr. Hale says scam victims are more likely to follow orders from someone claiming to be in authority. The real authorities say they’ll continue to search for scammers and put them in a place where they’ll be stripped of the ability to victimize others.

Officers say they will never call and ask for money to dismiss a warrant.

If you get one of those threats on the phone hang up and call local law enforcement. They can check for warrants under your name and put your mind at ease.

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