ASHEBORO N.C. – The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office would like to get the word out to citizens about a phone scam in which scammers claim they are with the Sheriff’s Office and attempt to get citizens to “pay a fine” or be arrested.
The Sheriff’s Office says they have received multiple reports of someone calling citizens in the county pretending to be a Deputy with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, stating the individual missed a mandated appearance for Jury Duty and need to pay a fine to avoid being arrested.
These scammers are using a technique called “spoofing” to make it appear that they are calling from the Sheriff’s Office. They then tell the citizen to look up the number to “verify” where they are calling from, and warn them not to hang up or they will be arrested.
The scammers then ask for a credit card number or provide directions to deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM.
Both the Randolph County Clerk of Courts Office and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office both say they do not accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
“No law enforcement agency will charge a fee for missing jury duty,” says Amanda Varner, Public Information Officer, with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office. “This is a scam, do not give these people money in any form. Do not confirm any information with them. Hang Up!!!!! If they ask you to confirm your date of birth, address, or social security information HANG UP.”
Randolph County Clerk of Court Pam Hill says that if you miss jury duty, the judge will issue a Show Cause order requiring you to appear in court to explain why you were not present. However, there is no automatic fine for missing jury duty.
Hill encourages anyone with questions about jury duty to contact her office.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the Sheriff’s Office and want to know if the caller is legitimate, hang up and call the Sheriff’s Office’s offical number yourself.
The Sheriff’s Office says they are also aware of a similar scam in Davidson County.
Avoiding a Scam
To avoid falling victim to a scam, the Federal Trade Commission’s division of Consumer Advice recommends the following:
- Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Honest organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. Honest businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
- Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists that you can only pay with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram, a payment app, or a gift card. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.