MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
J.C. BITTICK, SHERIFF
May 2, 2014
A new scam is making its way through Georgia and Sheriff John Cary Bittick is warning all citizens not to fall victim to this most recent scam.
As with most scams, the latest involves the victim turning money over to a stranger. But since most victims have learned the hard way that money shouldn’t be wired or transferred to an unknown bank account or banking institution, scammers have found a new way to take victims’ money.
In this latest scam, victims are receiving phone calls from a scammer who claims to work at a law enforcement agency. The scammer usually, but not always, identifies him/herself as having the rank of Lieutenant and tells the victim that he/she has missed jury duty. The scammer goes on to say that there is a warrant out for the victim’s arrest but the victim can avoid arrest by paying a fine. The scammers instruct the victims to go to a business that sells Green Dot MoneyPak cards (usually Wal-Mart), and load the cards with the fine money which is usually between $1,500.00 and $2,500.00.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reloadable debit cards, available nation-wide, and consumers can use them to pay bills and make purchases at most businesses and retail stores. People who don't have, or want, bank accounts tend to use them as alternatives to traditional bank accounts. Since the money is “on” the Green Dot MoneyPak card and not in a bank or savings account and is not a credit card, anyone you share your card number with has instant access to your cash and can siphon the card dry. Once the money is used, it cannot be retrieved. NOTE: The Green Dot cards aren't the problem – they work like any prepaid debit card or gift card, so remember if you use them or any prepaid card, never share your number with a stranger.
Sheriff Bittick urges all citizens to take proper precautions to prevent being scammed. If you receive a call from someone who says they represent a local law enforcement office or department and they ask you to provide them with money, be suspicious. Contact your local law enforcement agency and report the scam. Citizens should always use caution whenever they are contacted by someone they do not know who asks for or requires money or who asks for personal information like social security numbers or bank or credit card numbers.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Sheriff Bittick, “Because once the money is gone, it is nearly impossible to get back. Scammers will always find new ways to take someone else’s hard earned money so I urge everyone to be aware and be cautious and to report anything they feel is suspicious.” Information regarding scams can be reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 478-994-7043.
Monroe County Sheriff's Office