Fake ‘trooper’ scamming peninsula residents

KENAI — Alaska State Troopers are warning Kenai Peninsula residents to be aware of a scam in which a caller pretends to be a trooper.

Recently, a number of people have reported that someone claiming to be an officer named Trooper Turnbull has been calling Alaskans and saying they have outstanding arrest warrants and need to pay to have them cleared. The caller then often asks the person to purchase a prepayment card and read the numbers to him over the phone, which can’t be traced or undone, said Trooper Ryan Tennis of the Soldotna post. There is no Trooper Turnbull, he said.

Some victims are losing hundreds of dollars — he said one victim lost about $1,500, while others have lost around $900, and there’s essentially no chance to get the money back, he said.

“It’s coming up to Christmas — that’s pretty devastating for people,” he said. “That’s a (Permanent Fund) Dividend.”

The victims he has spoken to say there are red flags throughout the conversation that should have tipped them off that it was a scam — for instance, “Trooper Turnbull” pronounces Kenai and Soldotna incorrectly, Tennis said. The scammer also works to keep people on the phone so they don’t have the chance to call and verify with anyone else about the warrants, he said.

The scam has been going on around Alaska since at least November 2015 to victims all over the state, according to an Alaska State Troopers Facebook post from Nov. 20, 2015. Alaska State Troopers will never ask for payment over the phone, nor would they ever negotiate for payment in lieu of an arrest, according to the post. Reports of similar scams, sometimes called “arrest warrant scams,” have circulated all over the country for several years.

Tennis encouraged people to at least Google the situation or check social media to see if someone else has experienced a similar scam. Any active warrants can also be found on Courtview, Alaska’s public online court information system.

“(People) can look their own name up in Courtview,” he said. “It’d show up on our system. Don’t just send money.”

People who receive the calls should pay attention to the red flags and always call a second source to verify if they think they are being scammed. Other types of scams, such as the Publishers Clearinghouse, require people to submit payment to “unlock” money the scammers say they have won in a contest, another warning, Tennis said.

Alaska State Troopers don’t keep a running list of ongoing scams, but they can help people with information if other have reported a similar scam.

• Elizabeth Earl is a reporter for the Kenai Peninsula Clarion and can be reached at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 8

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, April 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, April 11, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The sky and mountains are reflected in the water on April 5, 2012, at the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest’s Admiralty Island National Monument. Conservation organizations bought some private land and transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service, resulting in an incremental expansion of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness and protection of habitat important to salmon and wildlife. (Photo by Don MacDougall/U.S. Forest Service)
Conservation groups’ purchase preserves additional land in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

A designated wilderness area in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest… Continue reading

A welcome sign is shown Sept. 22, 2021, in Tok. President Joe Biden won Alaska’s nominating contest on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Biden wins more delegates in Alaska and Wyoming as he heads toward Democratic nomination

President Joe Biden nudged further ahead in the Democratic nomination for reelection… Continue reading

Juneau Assembly members and other visitors examine a meeting room formerly used by the nine-member Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development on Monday, April 8, which is about 25% larger than the Assembly Chambers at City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Of three possible new City Hall buildings, one stands out — but plenty of proposed uses for other two

Michael J. Burns Building eyed as city HQ; childcare, animal shelter among options at school sites.

Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, speaks to members of the Senate majority caucus’ leadership group on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Schools, university and projects across Alaska are set to receive money from new budget bill

Alaska Senate sends draft capital budget to House as work continues on a state spending plan

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska judge strikes down state’s cash payments to families using correspondence school programs

Decision will become a ‘hot-button legislative item’ in final weeks of session, lawmakers say.

A statue of William Henry Seward stands outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau man convicted of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl more than four years after incidents occur

JPD: Randy James Willard, 39, sent explicit videos to and engaged in sexual contact with victim.

Most Read