CUMMING — Court officials have said they want Forsyth County residents to be wary of a circulating scam that asks for money to be transferred to avoid arrest.
In the scam, callers posing as a Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy or court clerk and say a warrant is being issued for the resident’s arrest because he or she failed to report for jury duty.
When residents respond that they never received a jury summons or notice to appear, the caller says a fine can be paid to avoid arrest by purchasing a green dot card, which is a prepaid credit card available at drug stores.
“My staff regularly contacts jurors concerning jury duty, but we never ask potential jurors for a financial transaction over the phone,” said Forsyth County Clerk of Courts Greg Allen.
“If you receive a call from anyone who says he or she works for this office or Sheriff Duane Piper’s office and the caller asks you to pay a fine by a card, make a note of the caller’s phone number and name if given, hang up the phone and do not talk to them.”
The scam’s “bold simplicity” may be what makes it so effective, Allen said.
“Facing the unexpected threat of arrest, victims are caught off guard and may be quick to respond to avoid being jailed,” he said. “They get you scared first … That’s when the scammer gives you a solution that will clear up the problem. Just pay the fine.”
Scammers who have been caught are typically already detained, he said, using smuggled smart phones to research and contact potential victims.
“Under no circumstances should you purchase prepaid cards and give the card numbers over the phone,” he said. “Innocent citizens have been fleeced of large amounts of money around the state. Some counties are reporting amount of $500, $3,000 and $4,000.”
Anyone with concerns regarding jury duty can reach the clerk of courts’ staff that performs jury management at (770) 781-2120 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with information about scammers can contact the sheriff’s office at (770) 781-3087.