Carmel woman wants people to be aware of scam targeting dentists, veterinarians

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind.– A Carmel veterinarian is sharing her story after she said she was targeted by a scammer at her workplace.

Dr. Mary Oxley-Ealing is a veterinarian at VCA Village Park Animal Hospital. Last week, she said she received a call at work that ended up being a scam.

“Someone called the actual clinic number and asked for me, saying they were from the Sheriff’s Office,” said Dr. Oxley. “When I picked up, someone on the phone was saying that they had a warrant out for my arrest because of a missed jury duty summons and I needed to take care of the matter immediately.”

Thankfully, Dr. Oxley realized the call was from a scammer, and took proactive steps to protect herself.

"I quickly asked him what kind of scam he was running and if I was supposed to be giving him money and he quickly said, 'No mam this is very serious, there's a warrant out for you.' He said that I should meet him by the Sheriff's Department and that if I hung up the phone, there would be officers coming to my workplace to arrest me."

Dr. Oxley said she grabbed her cellphone and called the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to explain what was going on. She said she put both phones on speakerphone and connected the scammer with the Sheriff's Office.

"I got my cellphone and called the actual Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the person that answered knew this scam was going on," she said. "After a few questions, he hung up right away."

Dr. Oxley says she hopes sharing her experience will alert others about what's going on.

"If it sounds funny, at least verify it. If anything in my story can help someone or just make people more aware, that's what I'm hoping," she said.

Bryant Orem with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department said they have received close to 15 calls regarding the current scam over the past few weeks. He said with the information given by the perpetrator, it's difficult to know if it's a local person.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department released this statement about the jury duty scam:

The Sheriff’s Office has received several calls regarding a jury duty scam, so Sheriff Mark Bowen is once again reminding area residents of a pervasive telephone scam that leaves victims open to theft and identity theft. The jury duty scam, along with the IRS scam, tax warrant scam, relative in need scam, home improvement scam, and others, come and go in cycles but all require potential victims to be aware of the issues. Most recently, the jury duty scam has once again come to the forefront.

The jury duty scam works like this:

The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court or Sheriff’s office and informs the victim of a failure to report for jury duty. The victim is told that an arrest warrant has been issued for failure to report for jury duty. The victim will rightly claim that a jury duty notification was never received. The scammer will then either pressure the victim into sending money by prepaid credit card or wire transfer to take care of the warrant or ask the victim for confidential information to “verify” the warrant. Caller ID may show the call originating from an official number and the scammer may provide a callback number.

Arrest warrants in Hamilton County are never served by telephone. To verify an active warrant, call 317-776-9800, option 2. Do not assume Caller ID or a callback number are legitimate. Scammers may also use names of local law enforcement officers or court officials to make the call seem more realistic. Do not be tempted to give out private information such as date of birth, social security number, or credit card numbers over the phone. Never be pressured into making a hasty decision over the telephone and always think twice before sending money by prepaid card or wire transfer. Transactions like these are nearly impossible to trace once sent.

The Attorney General's Office says six consumer complaints have come through regarding jury duty scams in 2016-2017. There were 20 calls to the call center in the last five years specifically referencing jury duty scams and 13 telephone privacy complaints in the past two years, none of those complaints coming from Hamilton County.

If you receive a potential scam call, contact Contact Hamilton County Communications at 317-773-1282.

Complaints can also be reported to the Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.

Click here to learn more about jury duty scams.