WALHALLA — The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert on a scam that involves bilking residents out of money because they have been told they missed jury duty.
According to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, one victim lost more than $2,000 while two other residents who reported a similar scam hung up on a man who identified himself as Deputy Mark Richardson.
The “deputy” told the victim that he would have pay money to stay out of jail because he missed jury duty.
The victim was told to purchase four green dot cards, place various amounts of money on each card and then call a specific number, which the victim did.
The victim was told to stay on the line while driving to the Sheriff’s Office in Walhalla where the two would meet but the scammer never showed.
“Any fines pertaining to traffic tickets, court fines or any type of warrants will not be handled by a law enforcement officer,” said Captain Greg Reed of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office. “All those fines are to be paid in court. Also, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has no employee by the name of Mark Richardson.”
Two other individuals also reported they had received calls from an individual claiming to be Deputy Mark Richardson. One victim was hold a Federal Court jury appearance was missed and that the victim would have to pay $1,000 or be arrested while the second victim was told only that a court date had been missed. Both victims hung up on the scammer.
The phone number the scammer used was different from the number used to call the first victim.
“In the nearly one dozen earlier press releases we have issued on scams, we have informed our citizens that any legitimate business, organization or agency will not accept payment by prepaid card,” said Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt.
“Once the numbers on the cards are given to a scammer, money is lost and prosecution and recovery of assets can be difficult if not impossible,” Watt added. “If someone calls and demands payment on a prepaid card, more than likely, it is a scam and we recommend hanging up on that person and not providing any financial or personal information.”