ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A jury duty phone scam has resurfaced in Robertson County.
The caller has done some research. They are using local agency names, in this case the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office and rusing citizens who live in the area.
The caller claims to be a Sheriff’s Deputy with the Robertson County Sheriff’s department. The caller informs potential victims that they failed to appear in Federal Court to serve on a Grand Jury. The caller further tells the victims that they are subject to arrest if they do not pay a fee to the sheriff’s office.
The victims are instructed to put money on a money card or gift card and call the Deputy back with the numbers on the card. The scammer claims to put a supervisor on the phone when the victim’s call back with the numbers, according to PIO Ryan Martin with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office.
“At no time will sheriff’s officers or court employees call a prospective juror to tell them that they failed to appear and a bench warrant has been issued. Nor will they ask for personal identifying information, such as bank account numbers or credit card information, they will never ask you to withdraw money or purchase prepaid credit cards for payment of a fine.” PIO Ryan Martin Robertson County Sheriff’s Office
Anyone who receives such a call is advised to contact law enforcement immediately to file a report.
Below is a personal account of a Coopertown woman that almost fell prey to the caller. She asked us to conceal her identity but as you read her account, it’s easy to see why the scam works.
“Today at 1:41pm I received a phone call on my land line from a number I didn’t recognize. No name showed up on my caller ID, but the number came across as (615) 395-5772. I answered the call, and was greeted by (a man who claimed to be) ‘Lieutenant David Reed of the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office’. He asked for me by name, and at first I thought it was a situation where they were asking for donations like several organizations do from time to time. However, it became immediately clear that that was not the reason for his call.
“Once he verified my name, he informed me that a summons to appear for jury duty had been issued for me back in February, and since I had not shown up, there was now a bench warrant for my arrest. Upon hearing that news, I became panicked and tried to explain to this ‘officer’ that I had never received the summons, and eagerly asked him what I needed to do to clear things up. He proceeded to tell me that I was to appear in court on May 4th at 9:00 am and gave me a case number for my failure to appear, and told me that I had 2 fines as a result of my absence.
“The first fine was for my failure to appear, in the amount of $495.00, the second fine was for jury duty exemption and that amount was also $495.00. He explained to me that I was being charged with 2 misdemeanors. At this point, I was shaking uncontrollably, and on the verge of tears. I was furious that this was happening when I NEVER received anything about jury duty in the mail.
“He calmly stated that they could track every summons electronically to determine whether I had not in fact received it and verified my mailing address, which then got me second guessing myself, thinking that perhaps I had received it and mistook it for junk mail and ran it through the shredder without ever opening it. I asked to speak with a supervisor or someone higher up, and he stated that he was the Chief Warrant Officer.
“So by now the panic had really set in and I couldn’t think clearly at all. All I could think was, I am a stay at home mom, I never got this summons, and I can’t pay these fines. So I’m trying to maintain the last bit of composure I have, so that I can tell this “officer” I can’t pay those fines, and I didn’t even know about my summons, how can I be in this much trouble. This man was very short and to the point. He quickly told me that if I could pay a portion of the fines today, they could make payment arrangements with me at my court appearance.
“At this point, I’m still caught up in the heat of the moment, and unable to process what was happening or even begin to think rationally. I told him that I couldn’t pay anything today. It was at that moment that he became very aggravated and began to aggressively threaten me with what would happen if I didn’t pay. He reiterated my statement about my inability to pay a portion of my fines today or the full amount on my court date. I confirmed that to be true, to which he then said, ‘ma’am if you can’t make payment today, you will not be in compliance, and I will have to send an officer out to arrest you.’
“That really made me panic as I was home alone with my son, so I informed him if that was how it had to be, he would have to give me time to make arrangements for my son. He very rudely replied, “no ma’am, I don’t have to give you time, we will take your son to DCS when we come to arrest you for your failure to appear”. By this point, I was slowly coming down off of the adrenaline rush, and was able to recap our conversation in my head, and start to process everything for what it was.
“I quickly asked him where it was that he was calling from again, and he immediately hung up on me. Still upset, I grabbed my cell phone and looked up the number for the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office, and placed the call. Once my call was answered, I explained the situation that had just taken place, and she reassured me that it was in fact a scam, and instructed me to call the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint.
“While I was on the phone with the ACTUAL Sheriff’s Office, “Lieutenant David Reed” was calling my home for a second time. I didn’t answer that call, so he left a message on my answering machine with the same song and dance he had just given me, but for another woman, whose name I did not recognize. Once I ended my call with the Sheriff’s Office, I called the Federal Trade Commission and filed my complaint.
“I provided them with all the information that I had on the scammer, and everything that had taken place. They instructed me not to accept any future calls from that number, not to communicate with them any further, and to call the FTC immediately if they called me from a different number so as to provide any new numbers to them. Once that call ended, I had calmed down significantly, and was able to think with a clear mind.
“The only thing that I could think was, I have to tell someone that can warn as many people as possible about this twisted scam, because for several minutes, this poser had me exactly where he wanted me; vulnerable, scared, panicked, upset, worried, desperate to make the supposed situation right so as to clear my name. I don’t want someone else to go through that misery, even if it is only for 5 minutes. For 5 minutes, I thought I was a common criminal who was going to jail for failure to appear on a jury duty summons, and my inability to pay an unexpected $1,000.00 fine.
“I’m thankful that I was able to regain my senses and see the fraud for what it was, before I made a costly mistake. The fact that he hung up on me and mistakenly dialed my number again and left a threatening message for someone else is proof enough that they are relentless, and will continue to hound the residents of Robertson County and possibly surrounding areas until they sucker someone into paying these purported fines. Please spread the word, I would hate for anyone to fall victim to these worthless scammers.
– Thank you for your time regarding this matter!” A concerned Coopertown Resident
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