Lee and Muscogee County Sheriff Offices warn citizens of 'jury - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lee and Muscogee County Sheriff Offices warn citizens of 'jury duty scams'

(Source: CPD) (Source: CPD)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Facebook) (Source: Facebook)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)

(WTVM) - The Lee and Muscogee County Sheriff's Offices are warning people of a scam involving a caller claiming to be a deputy.

Authorities say the caller will tell you that you have missed jury duty and will be arrested if a fine is not paid immediately.

The man then instructs people to obtain cash cards worth $250 to $500 and call him back with access numbers to the card.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook stating, “This type of "scam" has taken place over the last few years and everyone is urged to always conduct the business of any financial nature directly with the involved parties.”

Deputies say if you receive this call to hang up immediately and to call your local law enforcement.

The good news, according to Major Joe McCrea, public information officer for the MCSO, is someone would definitely know beforehand if they've been summoned for jury duty, and it would not be over the phone. 

"You would be subpoenaed first of all if you had jury duties," he said. "If you do have jury duty and you don't show up, and you're needed, we'll come to your house and say, 'Hey, you need to come in.' There's no money involved in that," McCrea said. 

Sheriff Donna Tompkins went so far as to post a warning on her own Facebook account; the same problem has appeared across the river in Lee County.

McCrea also said that because of the sophisticated nature of these scams, the main targets will likely be elderly people in the community.

The Better Business Bureau has already gotten calls and reports on this jury duty scam. 

Kelvin Collins, the local BBB's CEO/president, said this follows the pattern of recent scams, much like the IRS tax collection operation. 

A clear red flag you're being scammed, Collins said, is if the person over the phone asks you to pay anything in this way:

"It will be a gift card, a prepaid debit card, and believe or not, iTunes gift cards are pretty popular right now - that's the scam artist's way that they like right now," Collins said.

Both the BBB and the Muscogee County Sheriff's office now urge people to watch out for other forms of communication; emails or text messages asking for money, and to report you got the call as soon as possible.

If you have been a victim of the jury duty scam email us at newsrelease@wtvm.com. 

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