Scammers: Pay up or get arrested - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Scammers: Pay up or get arrested

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It's a scam that plays on law-abiding citizens' fears; fear of ending up behind bars, ​humiliated in front of family and friends.

And it's is spreading.

The Bryan County Sheriff's Office is reporting a half-dozen of what's been dubbed Green Dot scams since Thursday.

Citizens were taken for hundreds of dollars after scammer called, saying they owed fines for missing jury duty.

The scammer told them if they didn't pay immediately, on a MoneyPak Green Dot card, they'd be arrested within minutes.

Cindy Anderson was at work Monday when her mother called in a panic. She said the Bryan County Sheriff's Office called for Anderson.

Anderson called the number left with her mother.

"I always told myself I was never going to let a scam get me and then this happened," Anderson said. "But he sounded so official."

She was taken for $640, money Anderson borrowed from her mother.

She said the scammer told her he was a Sheriff's deputy, that she'd missed jury duty and owed fines for contempt of court and failure to appear.

"He tells me I have to leave my office. But I can't tell anybody why I'm leaving."

He wouldn't let her hang up the phone.

"When I go into my house, I can't tell my mother anything. I just have to ask her for the money."

Anderson said the scammer claimed that if she told anyone what she was doing, she'd be
charged with a felony.

"If I hung up the phone, then they would automatically issue a warrant, and then they would have somebody come and arrest me."

For every question Anderson asked, the scammer had an official sounding answer.

The same scam has been reported in Effingham and Chatham counties in recent weeks.

Sheriff's offices in all three counties said they'll never call to solicit money.

"We're a law enforcement agency, and we don't take money for outstanding warrants,"  Bryan County Capt. Butch Ward said.

That's a matter for the courts, not the sheriff's office or the police. They won't call up and offer to let you pay your way out of getting arrested.

"If you have a warrant outstanding for you, then we're gonna come and visit you," Ward said.

Local sheriff's offices advise anyone who gets a call from someone claiming to be law enforcement to politely get off the phone, look up the number for the agency the caller claims to represent, then call that number to find out whether the caller's claims are legitimate. 

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