FORSYTH, Macon (41NBC/ WMGT) – Scams are targeting a Middle Georgia community, causing dozens of people to turn to the sheriff’s office for answers.
In just one week, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office alerted residents via Facebook about two scams. The latest, someone calling and posing as Lieutenant Davis from the sheriff’s office saying you missed jury duty, and that you have to pay up to avoid being arrested.
“Most scams is the same. They start out threatening something with the intent to scare you to go and get a $500 gift card. When you hear that part, the gift card part, should be the ringer in your head: ‘this is wrong,'” Lieutenant Lawson Bittick with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Over 20 people called Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to see if they missed jury duty.
“They’d receive phone calls from a person identifying themselves as Lieutenant Davis with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.
Come to find out, that’s the scam itself.
“To prevent arrest, they had to go to either CVS or Dollar General and retrieve a $500 money-pack gift card,” Lieutenant Bittick said.
Calling people about missing jury duty isn’t in their protocol.
“We do not make phone calls to people to notify them that they have arrest warrants. We just simply knock on their doors with an uniformed officer,” he said.
Lieutenant Bittick says they’ve already notified the stores are on alert for possible customers falling for the scam.
“We contact those vendors. We let them know if anybody comes in asking for a $500 or $1,000 gift card, to question it,” Lieutenant Bittick said.
If you receive a suspicious call about money, he suggests doing more research.
“Just simply question it. We’ll use the jury duty scam as an example: They identify themselves as a deputy sheriff from a local sheriff’s office, contact your local sheriff’s office. Not through them not using their name. Just simply contact your local sheriff’s office [or] police department. Use a number you find on the internet or familiar with,” he said.
Fortunately, Bittick says no one has actually taken out money and sent it to the scammer. To avoid being scammed, never give personal information over the phone. This includes social security numbers, drivers license numbers, and your date of birth.