Caller scamming victims pretending to be sheriff's deputy
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - It's a phone call you might never expect to get but it's a phone call a number of people throughout Richland County are getting.
The caller gives you an ultimatum of paying them or deputies will take you to jail.
One woman said she was so upset by the scam, she almost gave the scammer her credit card number.
She said he was too believable as he pretended to be a deputy with the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
"This guy had me so upset that I really thought that I was going to jail, and I didn't want to go to jail," said Brenda. "If he should happen to get somebody on the phone that has a heart condition or an elderly person, I mean, he could actually hurt somebody scaring them like that."
Brenda doesn't want her last name used but feels the need to warn others.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department said Brenda nearly fell prey to a phone scammer.
The department said a man pretending to be a Lieutenant with the sheriff's department called Brenda and told her there was a warrant for her arrest because she didn't show up for jury duty.
"I said, 'I'm not going to jail for something I never even got a notice for.' And he said, 'Ma'am! Ma'am! I'll send them over to your house tonight,'" Brenda said.
Brenda said the man gave her an alternative, she could pay the sheriff's department $340 using prepaid money cards.
The caller warned Brenda she only had a couple hours to pay up or she would be arrested.
"My husband finally said, in the background, because he was listening the whole time, he said, 'Honey, this is a scam,'" Brenda said.
Captain Chris Cowan said the scam is becoming more common in the Midlands.
A Columbia man fell victim to it just this week, paying a fake deputy $2,000.
"An officer, first of all, is not going to threaten you," Cowan said. "Secondly, they're going to be very specific about what agency they work for and why they're calling. They're not going to be asking you for money over the telephone. Nobody can blame the victim. They shouldn't blame the victim. We blame the criminal, and that's who we need to go after. That's who we need to target."
Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to any arrests.
Cowan said if you get any suspicious calls, write down the phone number and report them to authorities.
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