Sheriff’s Department warns of scammers
Investigators with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office have received a number of complaints from new victims of financial scams in Florence County over the past several days.
According to an FCSO press release, the scams take several forms but seem to have a common theme of a caller impersonating a law enforcement officer, even FCSO deputies, who threaten arrest on a bench warrant if immediate payment using a credit or gift card is not forthcoming.
Recent victims report having been contacted by someone convincingly claiming to be an FCSO deputy calling about an outstanding arrest warrant, usually, but not always for failing to appear for jury duty. The deputy then indicates that arrest is imminent if the person does not immediately report to the Florence County Detention Center in Effingham and pay a fine of several hundred dollars by way of credit card or gift card. The fake deputy will indicate that he just needs the PIN for the credit or gift card and it will be taken care of.
“None of this is true,” states the press release, “but unfortunately far too many have fallen for the scam.
The truth is that FCSO will not contact you by telephone or email if you have an outstanding arrest or bench warrant. They will just come get you, in person and bring you to jail.
FCSO is not a collection agency for the courts, will not demand money from you and will never offer you a ‘get out of jail card’ in exchange for money, regardless of whether the payment method is cash, check, money order or gift card.
The best way to protect against these scams, the release states, is not to be taken in by the caller/scammer and just hang up.