A scam artist is using a new name for an old trick, calling around Southwest Florida and claiming to be with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to frighten residents out of their money.
Several resident have recently received calls from someone claiming to be with LCSO as part of an old con called the “jury duty” scam, according to Rita Miller of the Lee County Clerk’s Office.
The scheme is performed by calling and telling the unsuspecting victim that they have an arrest warrant out on them because they failed to appear for jury duty or a grand jury summons. The now-panicking victim is told that they can avoid the warrant by paying a fine to the caller claiming to be from a government of law enforcement agency. Often, the target is encouraged to pay in a hard-to-trace form such as a prepaid credit card.
“The scam is quite common and has periodically surfaced over the years; however, this particular time the scammer identified himself using the name of a current sheriff’s office employee,” said Miller in a release on Tuesday.
Miller said that so far LCSO has received no reports of anyone actually losing money to the scam, but reminded the public that the county will never contact them by phone, e-mail, or text asking for money or threatening arrest hem for not responding to a jury summons.
She suggested the following tips in case residents encounter this scam:
Courts and cops do not call consumers about jury duty.
Notices about jury duty will come by mail.
A call from someone you do not know requesting money be sent via a wire transfer or prepaid card is most certainly a scam.
Do not respond out of fear. If you receive such a call, gather the information and
follow up with the Lee County Clerk of Court at 239-533-9153.
To report it as a scam, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-258-3292.
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