Circuit clerk warns of new scam

Published 1:17 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

At least two local residents have fallen victim to the latest scam targeting everyone, officials said Friday.

Circuit Clerk Amy Jones said a new phone scam has emerged in Covington and surrounding counties.

“People of all ages – young and old – are being called on the phone,” she said. “The caller is saying, ‘we are from the Covington County Sheriff’s Office’ or a warrants division.”

Jones said the callers inform residents that they have an outstanding warrant or a warrant issued against them.

“They tell you that you will be arrested if you do not provide a payment in the amount of $500,” she said.

Jones said the caller also instructs that $500 be placed on a prepaid credit card from either Kangaroo Express, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, CVS, Rite Aid or Walmart.

Jones said residents have been instructed by the caller to call back and the funds are immediately withdrawn from the card.

“Many of our elderly people have fallen victim to this,” she said. “They are scared of going to jail.”

Jones said she’s tried to tell everyone who has been approached they can call the Consumer Protection Division of the Alabama Attorney General’s office.

Jones stressed that a representative from the Circuit Clerk’s office would not call over the phone.

“No one is going to call you over the phone about a warrant,” she said. “All monies we receive, come through our office and we give receipts.”

She said her office was first notified of the scam on Monday, and on Tuesday an individual called and he had purchased a $500 credit card.

Jones said she has been calling businesses and encouraging them to question $500 gift card purchases.

“Tell them to call the sheriff’s office before they make the purchase,” she said. “I just want to make everyone aware of this scam.”