(Rock Springs, Wyo. – September 13, 2017) A telephone scam that was in circulation in Sweetwater County in February has now resurfaced, Sheriff Mike Lowell said in a special bulletin issued Wednesday afternoon.
Lowell said that swindlers are calling people, identifying themselves as detectives, and are even using the name of at least one former Sweetwater County deputy sheriff. (Lowell noted that the former deputy is not involved in the swindle, but the scammers are using the name to lend credibility to the con.)
The callers are telling their intended victims that a warrant has been issued for their arrest for failing to report for jury duty and they are liable to be taken into custody at any time.
The swindlers are directing the persons they are calling to go to a convenience store or other retail outlet and there purchase a “green dot card” (a debit card), with which they must then call back and pay a fee ranging from $500 to $1,500 to avoid jail.
Lowell said several Sweetwater County residents have already fallen victim to the swindle and paid the bogus fee. During their phone calls with their intended victims, the swindlers sound very authentic, know some details about the person they are calling, and provide other details, such as a fake “case number” and the Sweetwater County Courthouse’s address in Green River.
“It’s all part of the scam, to make it look more convincing,” he warned.
Lowell emphasized that, first of all, no agency of the criminal justice system is going to call to demand money or payment for fines, missed jury duty, overdue traffic tickets, etc.. If you receive a call like this, make a note of the agency or department that the caller claims to be with and also note the number that appears on your caller ID.
Next, hang up, then follow up, using the information you’ve noted. Check with the organization the caller claimed to be with. And most important of all, never provide such a caller with any personal or financial information.
“We need to get the word out on this as far and as quickly as possible,” Lowell said. “To avoid anyone else being victimized, please help us get this warning out, especially via social media.”
Lowell also said it’s particularly important to make family members or friends who are seniors aware of the scam, as they are often especially targeted.
For more information on this and many other fraud schemes, law enforcement officials recommend the FBI website at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud