ALBANY — When the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office or other law enforcement agency looks to settle an outstanding warrant, a phone call requesting the numbers from store-purchased plastic cards is not the route they take.
Recently, the sheriff’s office issued a reminder to the public that the scam, which pops up from time to time, is still around and warned individuals not to fall prey to it. Further, no one should give any personal or financial information to a stranger on the phone.
“We’ve had three phone calls, and we wanted to communicate that it is a scam,” Assistant Chief Deputy Pamela Johnson said. “We’ve had this type of scam going on for four or five years.”
This particular scam has several variations. It could be someone on the phone claiming to be from Immigration and Naturalization Services or a law enforcement agency, with the caller requesting immediate payment in order for the recipient to avoid going to jail.
The caller invariably asks for payment in gift cards or other cards over the telephone.
In the recent attempts, the caller has been using the names of actual Dougherty County deputies. Fortunately, the sheriff’s office is not aware of anyone who fell for the pitch recently.
Johnson’s advice for anyone who receives a suspicious call is to hang up and report the incident to the sheriff’s office by calling (229) 431-2166 and asking for the Investigations Division.
While traffic tickets can be settled online, an outstanding warrant is not something that can be handled over the phone or via computer.
“You have to come in and pay (those),” Johnson said.
With tax season in full swing, she also warned about another, similar scheme in which the caller claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demands payment of delinquent taxes.
“It will always be in written form from the IRS,” Johnson said. “(Also), don’t give out any information. It would be our recommendation to never give out personal information over the phone — Social Security number, address or account numbers. Hang up and block the number and call the sheriff’s office.”