Your phone rings. The caller says you missed jury duty and that you need to pay a fine or you’ll be arrested.
Don’t believe it; it’s a scam.
[As you read further, please note this scam happens in just about every city and state in America. If in doubt, call your local police non-emergency number or courthouse BEFORE you fork over some of your hard earned money]
A form of the jury duty scam is once again making the rounds in Collier County. The scam typically involves a suspicious telephone call from someone pretending to be a law enforcement officer from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives are investigating a March 14 report involving a victim in Golden Gate.
CCSO reports gave this account:
The victim told deputies that he received a message on his home answering machine March 13 from someone who claimed to be an employee of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The caller said he needed to speak to the victim about a legal matter. The caller provided a number for the victim to call.
The victim called the number and was informed there was a warrant for his arrest for missing jury duty and that immediate payment was needed to rectify the situation. He was then instructed on how to make payment.
The victim purchased two MoneyPak cards for specified amounts and then gave the PIN to the person pretending to be a CCSO member. The victim was then told there was a problem and that he needed to purchase more gift cards, which he did. He called back and provided the PINs for the additional cards.
The victim refused subsequent requests to purchase more gift cards and later contacted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The victim told detectives that he spoke to at least four people who falsely represented themselves as CCSO employees with the names Deputy Brown, Captain Brooks and Lt. Whitehead.
CCSO encourages residents to report this type of activity immediately.
This scam can take on many forms to include people impersonating the IRS, your bank, utilities, and many other legitimate organizations. CCSO advises anyone who receives a call requesting money or personal information not to provide that information over the phone. Instead, hang up. If you think that the caller may have been the real organization, look up the legitimate number and then call it to verify the information you received over the phone.
Deputies would also like to remind residents that members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office will never contact you by telephone about missing jury duty. Deputies will never ask you to obtain a prepaid credit card to pay a fine to avoid arrest or ask you for your own personal credit/debit card information, to include the pin number and any other identifying information over the telephone.
For assistance with any suspicious encounter involving a request for money or personal information, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s Call Before You “Pay” hotline – (239) 252-CALL (2255). The hotline is staffed by a CCSO deputy in the Financial Crimes Bureau between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.