Jury duty scam hits Hilton Head Island area - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Jury duty scam hits Hilton Head Island area


In the Lowcountry, three people claim a Beaufort County Sheriff's deputy called them and threatened to arrest them for missing jury duty unless they paid $2,000.

The Sheriff's department says it's the latest scam to hit the area.

When it comes to telephone scams like this, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says the best thing you can do is simply hang up the phone.

Earlier in the week, Sea Pines homeowner Herbert Novit was getting ready for dinner when the phone rang.

"And this man identifies himself as Major somebody, Badge 92 of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, he is the OIC-Officer in Charge," said Novit.  

Novit says the alleged officer was going to arrest him that night for missing jury duty unless he paid him $2,000.

"Either Walmart, I think he said Walgreen's and buy two $1,000 green dot cards, not giftcards, nothing but a green dot card," he said.

What the caller didn't know is that Novit is an attorney with more than 40 years of experience in real estate law.

After going back and forth with the supposed deputy for about 10 minutes, the caller threatened to take Novit to jail immediately for getting "violent" with him.

"So I said 'well come ahead, my wife says I look nice in orange anyways and I'll pack an overnight bag," he said.

Although Novit was smart enough to figure out the scam, others aren't so lucky.

Out of the three incident at Sea Pines, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says one person did pay out $2,000 and another tried to buy the money cards but couldn't complete the transaction.

"This situation of calling and saying you have a warrant and you need to pay this amount to get out of it, that's not a situation that will ever happen. If you have a warrant, you can rest assured we're going to make contact with you for it," said Sgt. Robin McIntosh, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office gets many complaints about scams similar to this one, and often times it's too late to recover the money.

Novit does have one small regret:

"I didn't watch when the phone number came up, I didn't get the phone number so that might've helped the Sheriff's department trace him down," he said.

Remember that you can always take that extra step and call someone whether it's the Sheriff's Office, courthouse or a family member to make sure it is in fact a real emergency.

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