Sheriff warns of local phone scam
Published 11:20 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is warning area residents to be wary of a telephone scam “that is becoming increasingly popular” over the past few weeks.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the purpose of the scam is to steal money from local residents by using a scare tactic linked to a false report related to jury duty.
“The common scam is to call you and tell you that you did not report for jury duty and as a result a warrant has been issued for your arrest,” read a statement released by the SCSO on Oct. 21. “The caller will offer to dismiss the warrant if you send them money via one of the many online payment methods.
“The caller may use one of the Sheriff’s administrative officer’s names they took from the Sheriff’s Office webpage or one of our elected official’s names,” read the statement. “These calls are always fraudulent. The Sheriff’s Office will never call you and offer to settle a warrant over the phone for monetary payment.”
Local residents who receive one of these scam calls have multiple options, according to the SCSO. Call recipients can ask the caller for a number to call back once they have verified the call.
“The caller may ‘push’ you to settle the warrant with a cash payment and tell you this is your only chance to settle the warrant,” read the statement. “The Sheriff’s Office will never contact you in this way.”
The call recipient can also simply hang up, or ask the caller questions about their employment with the Sheriff’s Office before calling the Sheriff’s Office at 669-4181 to verify.
“Sheriff Samaniego asks you to please guard against falling victim to these scam artists,” read the SCSO statement. “The Sheriff’s Office will never ask for money from you over the telephone. If you have any questions about how we handle warrants, or our daily operations, please call us before you send anyone money via the Internet.”