According to a release from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office today, the sheriff’s office has recently received several telephone calls regarding a phone scam.
The scam usually goes like this: when the victim answers their phone, the caller identifies themself as an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. They then go on to say that the victim has an outstanding warrant or a balance owed on an old fine. They give the victim instructions to wire the money and tell them that, if it is not received by the close of business, they will be arrested.
Some victims have reported that their caller ID even showed the number as “Jefferson County Sheriff”. Callers have identified themselves as Sheriff Mike Hale, the Chief of Police of New
York City and Montgomery County Sheriff D. T. Marshall.
“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office does not conduct business in this manner,” Sgt. Randy Christian said.
The collection and disposition of court fines or fees is the responsibility of the District and Circuit Clerks. The Sheriff’s Office does not collect fines.
“The sheriff’s office is not a debt collector,” Christian said
. “In the event that the amount requested represents payment of any consumer debt, the caller is in violation of the Fair Debt Collections Act.”
The applicable section of the act can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.shtm#807.
“Do not provide the caller with any personal information even if it is to verify that you are not the person sought,” Christian said. “Do not wire money to anyone you have concerns about. If you receive a call such as this, attempt to gather as much information as possible and report the call to local law enforcement. You may also wish to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. This can be done through their web site at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office can be contacted at 205-325-5711.