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Slick Scam Spreading - Tis The Season

SCSO patrol units. file photo.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office is warning the general public of a scam currently being perpetrated in the area. Residents are being contacted over the phone by a person using the name of “Officer Johnson.”

The caller claims to be from the sheriff’s office and tells the victim that there is a warrant that has been issued for the victim’s arrest because they failed to report for jury duty. “Officer Johnson” then advises the victim that they can avoid arrest if they pay a fine over the phone. The victim is then instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the card number to “Officer Johnson” during a subsequent telephone call.

“This is a scam from the word go”, said Sheriff Mike Schiff. “Nowhere in New York State do you pay a fine over the phone for anything.”

The sheriff said that there are different versions of this scam, but they all have one thing in common, “they want you to send money via a prepaid debit card, Western Union, MoneyGram or they send someone to your house to pick it up. Don’t fall for it,” he said.

Any matters involving jury duty will be outlined in a letter with instructions that will be sent from the courts via U.S. Mail. “You will never get a call from my office regarding jury duty”, said Schiff.

Residents should also be on guard for scams where they are told that a relative has been arrested and needs bail money, needs to pay a fine or has been in a car accident.

Another common scam involves a caller claiming to be from the electric company, collecting an overdue bill. The caller will threaten to cut off the victim’s electric unless they pay the bill over the telephone with a prepaid debit card.

Residents are urged to remain vigilant and to contact the sheriff’s office if they suspect any scam

Source: Mid Hudson News

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