ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Captain Craig Dodd of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office said at a Monday morning news conference that at least half a dozen citizens have fallen victim to a telephone scam in which the criminal claim that the citizen owes fines for missing jury duty.
Dodd said the citizens who were victimized have "lost thousands of dollars in this scheme."
Beverly Pressley received these scam phone calls over the weekend. "It started Friday, and he said he was from the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department."
Pressley said the man claimed he was Lt. Michael Nixon, and had a summons to arrest for a member of her family.
Dougherty County Sheriff's Captain Craig Dodd said they received a number of reports of these scam calls. "We actually had about 25 calls this weekend on this," he said.
But Sheriff's Investigators are concerned by reports that the crooks were trying to lure people to their closed office, possibly to rob them. Dodd said "Told the lady to meet them at the Sheriff's Office downtown. It was the middle of the night."
Sheriff's Investigators know dozens of people have received the calls. At least six people have fallen victim, giving the crooks money. "What they are paying them is anywhere from $200 to $2000. And they are paying through PayPal Cards."
The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office wants everyone to understand, they do not call people about summons or arrest warrants...and they don't ask for money. Beverly Pressley had seen the warnings, and did not fall for the scam, but reported it to police.
Pressley said "They said just totally block the calls. Let the Police Department know what's going on. But don't try to engage a conversation with them, or even answer their phone call."
Sheriff's Investigators say the scammers are targeting lots of people, and are getting more brazen. The scammer claims the person has missed jury duty, and must pay a fine. They attempt to get the citizen to go downtown to the sheriff's office in the middle of the night, when actually there is no one at the sheriff's office, and where the person will be alone and vulnerable.
The alternative is that the person give them credit or debit card information over the phone, and then their account is drained.
Dodd said that if someone misses jury duty, there is never a phone call made. They send a deputy to your home, and they will meet in person with you, or place a sticker on your door.
In any case, you will deal with a deputy with a badge, who is clearly identified, and driving a county car; no phone calls are made about jury duty.