SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher is warning residents that two people have lost a total of $8,000 in a scam about jury duty. He says someone pretending to be a deputy from his office has been making calls and telling people they missed jury duty and now owe a fine to avoid going to jail.
His office has received about 25 calls from residents complaining about the scam. He says one woman paid the crooks $6,500 and another person paid $1,500.
Wilcher wants residents to remember his office will never call you and ask for money.
“These scammers are telling people they missed a court date and if they don’t give them a certain amount of money that they will send a sheriff deputy to pick them and put them in jail and that’s not true,” Wilcher said.
The calls can be scary to many, especially older people.
“The caller is threatening them and saying they’re going to jail,” Wilcher said.
The caller pretends to be from the sheriff’s office, in some cases using the name Gary Taylor which is the actual name of the chief deputy. So it’s likely some people believe the calls are legitimate but they’re not.
“I’ve been here 47 years and we’ve never called anybody on the phone and said you missed a court date and we’re going to come and get you and put you in jail,” said Wilcher.
Sheriff officials say the jury duty scam seems to be surfacing now because as COVID restrictions are dropping, more trials are resuming at the county courthouse. So, some people may believe they missed a jury duty notice and that they’re in trouble and they owe the fine to avoid going to jail.
One obvious sign this is a scam is that the caller wants a prepaid card. Wilcher says don’t fall for this.
“Because once they get the numbers off the back of that card, that money’s gone and there’s no way of retrieving it,” he says.
If you get one of these calls the best thing to do is hang up and if you’re concerned, contact the sheriff’s office.