The Nash County Sheriff’s Office warned residents Thursday of a new scam that is going on in the area.
According to information posted by the law enforcement agency, some area residents are receiving phone calls from local telephone numbers with people who are identifying themselves as members of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.
“They will even give a legitimate-sounding name as well such as Lieutenant Knox or Captain Smith. They will give you a story such as you have missed jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, but in order to clear out the warrant then you need to pay ‘XX’ amount of dollars. They will then try to get you to purchase prepaid VISA cards or gift cards from the local store,” Chief Deputy Brandon Medina said in a Facebook post.
Medina said the scammers go to great lengths to make the story seem real.
“One citizen stated that the scammer even transferred them over to several other “members” of the sheriff’s office who they spoke with, which made the scam sound that much more legitimate. On top of that, if you call the number back, it says, ‘You have reached the non-emergency number of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office,’ and gives you prompts for different divisions at the sheriff’s office, but obviously no one ever answers ... they want you to leave your name and number to call back,” the post said.
The number the scammers are calling from this week seems to be 462-3060, but they constantly change the number, so it is hard to keep up with them. One phone number stops working, and they just get a new one, the post said.
Medina offered advice in dealing with such scammers.
“Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated in trying to take your hard-earned dollars. First of all, no law enforcement agency is going to call you and try to have you alleviate any type of warrant or process with a gift card or prepaid debit card. That should be your red flag that it is a scam,” Medina said. “Secondly, if you ever have any doubt about the legitimacy of whether an actual deputy sheriff from the Nash County Sheriff’s Office is calling you, call us on our real non-emergency line at 252-459-4121.”
Medina advised residents not to call the number back.
“Don’t ever call back to the same number they are calling from. With today’s technology, these scammers are able to ‘spoof’ their number to show anything they want when they are calling you,” Medina said. “Unfortunately, we take reports daily from citizens who are fooled by these people and end up giving them their hard-earned money because they thought it was legitimate. Many times, it is hard for us to investigate and prosecute these crimes because these scammers are not even in the United States.”
This scam also is being used in other areas with other law enforcement agencies. Anyone who is uncertain about the legitimacy of such calls should check before giving money to anyone, he said in the Facebook post.
“We ask that everyone just use caution and if you ever have any doubts about what they are telling you, you can call us at 459-4121 and we can verify whether a deputy is actually trying to reach you for a purpose,” Medina said.