BCSO warns residents of phone payment scheme - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

BCSO warns of phone payment ploy

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The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office warns residents of a phone scheme of callers posing as sheriff's office deputies in an attempt to solicit money and threatening legal action if they don't give money. 

Residents have said they're also getting calls from someone saying they owe a fine for failure to appear for jury duty and asked to provide credit card information to pay the fine, or risk being arrested, according to the sheriff's office. The caller is using different names and asking for different amounts of money. 

This ploy is has been reported recently as going on nationwide. The Federal Bureau of Investigations released warnings about this type of scam dating back as early as 2005. While the details may differ as the scam runs from area to area, the end result is the same: a victim is deceived into giving valuable and potentially harmful information to an unknown source. 

The callers' are typically persistent and intimidating. They may use legal/law enforcement jargon and use information that's easily accessible about the person they're talking to into believing they are speaking with an actual law enforcement officer. It's believed the calls are coming from outside the local area or even outside the U.S. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office does not solicit any financial information over the phone, according to the sheriff's office. Paying fines, debts, warrants, or other civil process never involves someone to give their financial information over the phone or e-mail. 

Anyone who gets calls like this should avoid giving out any financial information and contact the sheriff's office immediately. 

To find out or verify an outstanding legal issue that requires some type of payment, contact the appropriate offices of the Beaufort County Courthouse. 

For more details about this scheme and to get prevention tips, go to the FBI's website.   

To report crime, citizens can call Crimestoppers at 1.888.CRIME.SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

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