Sheriff, police warn of scams

Published 11:34 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office and several local police departments are warning of telephone-related scams. (Contributed)

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and several local police departments are warning of telephone-related scams. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and several municipal police departments in Shelby County are warning residents of a local spike in telephone-related scams.

The Sheriff’s Office has received multiple complaints of a scam involving threats of arrest for “failure to report for jury duty,” according to information distributed by the office on Oct. 22.

The caller often claims to be with the “Shelby County police department,” which does not exist, and claims the resident failed to report for jury duty and is in danger of being arrested.

The caller then solicits payment for a fine over the phone to avoid the resident’s arrest.

“The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office would like to warn the public that no member of the Sheriff’s Office will ever solicit payment for a fine over the telephone. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office does not collect fines or solicit money for any purpose,” read information from the Sheriff’s Office. “Furthermore, the local and state judicial system does not contact residents by phone to ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth or credit card numbers.”

The Sheriff’s Office warned residents to never provide personal or confidential information over the phone, and to not offer payment over the telephone.

“If you have already been contacted and have already given out your personal information, please monitor your account statements and credit reports, and contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (at 669-4181),” read the SCSO press release.

The Alabaster Police Department and multiple other local law enforcement agencies also have received complaints of a similar telephone scam in which the caller claims to be a government official or law enforcement officer.

The caller often asks for a resident by name and demands the resident verify residential, personal, voter registration and identity information, claiming there is an arrest warrant for the resident.

“Do not provide any information to an unsolicited caller that you have not personally verified as being legitimate,” read a post on the Alabaster Police Department Facebook page. “Should you have a question concerning the legitimacy of a caller, always ask for their name and contact information, their supervisor’s name and contact information and their business association.

“Explain that you will contact them after verifying you have interest in their call,” read the post.