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Sheriff’s Office issues alert on phone scam

POSTED: May 29, 2014 6:34 p.m.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about a telephone scam.

According to investigators, a caller identifies himself as being with the ESCO’s warrants/civil division and tells the victim that he or she did not respond to a jury summons. In order to avoid arrest, the scammer states, the victim can pay the associated fines using a pre-paid debit card, usually a Green Dot Moneypak card.

“These callers are extremely convincing and have extensive knowledge of the local agency that they are impersonating,” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “It is critical that citizens are aware that no law enforcement agency will ever solicit payment of fines over the telephone, especially with the use of pre-paid debit cards. Any caller making such a request should be considered suspicious.”

The ECSO, along with other law enforcement agencies, has received “numerous reports” from people saying they were targets of a telephone scam, Ehsanipoor said.

Similar phone scams have been reported throughout several Georgia and out-of-state jurisdictions, according to Ehsanipoor. He said some have slight variations, such as the caller claiming the victim has not paid an outstanding traffic or parking ticket and can avoid arrest by paying the fine over the phone.

“(The scams are) still going on, and we are working with other agencies in the state,” Ehsanipoor said. “This is a statewide issue. Our investigation is ongoing.”

Anyone who has received a phone call of this nature is asked to contact the ECSO criminal investigations division at 754-3449.

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