UPDATE: Scammers posing as Dade County deputy demand money in lieu of arrest
Sgt. Payne says the scammers are using the actual name of the deputy who serves warrants and cloning the number to the sheriff's office.
UPDATE: A Cleveland woman wants to warn people about a scam that's hitting the Tennessee Valley.
It involves someone impersonating a sheriff's deputy and demanding money for bail.
Reports have been made recently in three counties including Bradley, Chattooga, and Dade. What's even more scary is that in some cases the scammers are using real names of sheriff's office employees.
It started with a voicemail for Anita Good.
Someone claimed to be with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office in Middle Tennessee. It's a place Good hasn't lived in nearly a decade.
"He said we have a warrant for your arrest because you did not show up in court to testify for a car accident and I said what?," Good said.
That's what Good learned from her Cleveland home when she called back.
A man who identified himself as Sgt. Jim Haskins told her she needed to prove who she was and send $2,050 in either cash or iTunes gift cards for bail.
"I was just so upset. He kept saying you're going to be handcuffed and taken to jail. He was threatening me," Good said.
Acting on that fear, she rushed to Walmart to buy the gift cards. Good said they also scammed her out of her social security number.
"I thought wait a minute, haven't I heard about this on WRCB-TV on a scam alert about gift cards? I went 'oh my gosh, I've been scammed' and then it just hit," Good said.
There's not a Sgt. Haskins and she wasn't supposed to be in court.
The scam has also extended to Dade County, Georgia, but with a twist. Someone is calling saying they're Deputy John Price from the warrants division.
"We work extremely hard to build up the confidence in our community and for someone to come along and use that trust that we have built to scam some of our local residents, we don't like it one bit," Deputy John Price with the Dade County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputy Price thinks the scammers went to the department's website and found his name. They're also spoofing the department's phone number.
"It really makes our job hard because the people no longer trust us to say that we are who we are," Deputy Price said.
As deputies search for who is responsible, Good explains why she's speaking up.
"I don't want people to be deceived like I was because they are so believable," Good said.
Good did manage to get her money back since she used a credit card. She's working with the social security office to sort out her other problem.
Law enforcement agencies say they will never call to request money to avoid making an arrest.
They will also not ask for any personal or confidential information over the phone.
If you receive a suspicious phone call, call police.
The Dade County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a scam call that threatens people with a warrant for their arrest unless they pay up.
Sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Chad Payne says the scammers are calling potential victims and telling them there is a warrant for their arrest unless they pay money to avoid it.
Sgt. Payne says the scammers are using the actual name of the deputy who serves warrants and cloning the number to the Sheriff's Office.
The scammer tells the victim the payment must be made using a prepaid credit card.
"Please tell everyone that you can, that we would never contact someone over the phone and request money," Sgt. Payne says. "If you receive a call from someone presenting themselves as a representative of the sheriff's office, and they request money from you, in lieu of arrest, please hang up immediately."
Sgt. Payne says the sheriff's office has received numerous calls about the scam and some victims have lost money because of it.
"Please share this, and tell everyone you can, especially the elderly," Sgt. Payne says. "This isn't just happening here, it's happening everywhere."
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