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Sheriff’s office warns of ‘jury duty’ phone scam

Several Pike County residents have picked up their phones in recent days to hear that they have missed a jury summons and that a warrant will be served for their arrests. The only solution, the caller says, is to go to a local store, get a “Greendot” card and give him the confirmation number to pay a fine.

The only problem is this is not the Pike County Sheriff’s Office calling, as the scammer on the other end of the line portrays himself.

“He says his name is James Marshall with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, but it’s totally bogus,” said Lt. Troy Johnson. “We will not ever call and ask for any money.”

On the occasion that the sheriff’s department does call someone to let them know about a warrant for their arrest, Johnson said there would still not be any transfer of money over the phone.

One of the telltale signs that a call like this is a scam, Johnson said, is the scammer asking for the money via a gift card or money order.

“It’s harder for us to track, that’s the reason why they do it,” Johnson said. “The phone number this person is using is what we consider a burner phone like one you could get at a  Walmart or a Dollar General where you don’t a have contract; the number is untraceable. When they get confirmation number, they can go to any Walgreens or Western Union and get that money and the only thing shown will be that the transaction has been processed. That’s how they’ve been doing this and it is near about impossible to track.”

Johnson urged anyone contacted by this scammer or any others posing as the sheriff’s office to call 334-566-4347 both to confirm that the call is a scam and to report the scheme.