UNION COUNTY — If you get a phone call from a sheriff’s deputy saying you will be arrested if you don’t pay a fee for not showing up for court hang up because it’s not a deputy but a scam artist trying to trick you out of your money.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office issued a public warning about the scam after receiving a report from a woman who said someone called her home claiming to be a sheriff’s deputy and threatening her with arrest for not showing up in court if she did not immediately pay a fee.
The incident report states that on Monday, the responding deputies were given the name and phone number of the complainant in the case by the Sheriff’s Office. The report states deputies called the number and spoke with the complainant who said she got a phone call from someone claiming to be an officer with the Sheriff’s Office. The complainant said the person told her she had missed jury duty, but that if she put $2,000 on Green Dot Money Park Cards she would not go to jail. She said the caller knew her name, address, and date of birth.
The report states that the complainant said she went to the bank to get the money out, but stopped when a friend told her it was probably a scam. She said she then called the Sheriff’s Office to confirm this.
The report states the complainant said the caller gave her a case number of 1000386AD-53SC. She said he called from 864-323-1301.
As a result of the filing of this complaint, the Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Monday warning the public not to let the scam artist trick them into giving them any of their money.
“This is a scam,” the press release states. “Our officers are not calling individuals about not reporting for court.”
Sheriff David Taylor said that if a person has a court date — either for a trial or jury duty — and does not show up for it, the presiding judge sends a deputy to their home or place of work to bring them to court. Taylor said that if it involves jury duty, the person will be brought before the judge to explain why they didn’t show up when they were supposed to. He said the judge then decides whether or not to charge them with failure to report for jury duty.
In the event a person is scheduled to go on trial and does not show up, Taylor said they are arrested and charged with a bench warrant on the original charge.
Taylor said that in neither circumstance will deputies call in advance. He added that any fines or fees they might have to pay would be decided by the judge.
If anyone receives a phone call like this, the press release states they should hang up and immediately notify the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 864-429-1611.
Monday’s incident is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public not to fall for a telephone scam in which scammers call claiming to be sheriff’s deputies, accusing the person they are calling of not showing up for court and threatening to arrest them if they don’t pay a fee. A Union woman received such a call on Monday with the scammer on the phone threatening her with arrest for failing to show up for jury duty if she didn’t pay $2,000. Warned by a friend that the call was probably a scam, the woman didn’t pay the money but instead called the Sheriff’s Office.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.