Pa. courts warn of phone scam seeking money by threatening to list people as sex offenders

Paul Peirce, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 14—The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts in Harrisburg is warning state residents of a new phone scam in which callers threaten to place victims on the state's sexual offender registry if they don't immediately forward unpaid court fines or fees.

"We wanted to get the word out there as soon as we heard about it. The office is advising the public to stay vigilant against such scams," said AOPC spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

She said the new scam involves calls that mimic the AOPC's telephone number.

"During the spoof call, victims are told of alleged unpaid court fines and outstanding fees. And if the fees not be paid, the caller threatens to place the individual on the Pennsylvania sex offender registry," Witalec said. "It just doesn't happen that way, but some people may not be aware of that and we wanted to warn people about it."

Under state law, a person must be convicted of a sexual offense and then have a Sexually Violent Predator Assessment completed by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. The board then recommends the person be classified as a sexually violent predator, which a judge must order following a hearing.

Witalec said the AOPC will never place calls or solicit payments by credit card, gift card or any other means of electronic fund transfer.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call from a number or an individual claiming to be involved with or calling from the AOPC requesting payment should not provide any sensitive information or forms of payment of any kind.

The office also asked anyone receiving such calls to hang up immediately and call local or state police state and/or the state Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555. The consumer protection office also can be reached by email at

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, or via Twitter .