Capt. Steve Rose, with Sandy Springs Police Department, writes a weekly column he calls “The Weekly Wrap.” Readers can also follow him on Twitter @CaptainRose.
In the first two weeks of August, multiple reports came in about a phone scam involving someone pretending to be a Fulton County police officer.
I’d like to think this weekly activity report serves a purpose greater than simply confirming that I perhaps grew up a little too close to the power lines.
If you read it, over and over you see where people simply open the door to crooks as well as more and more scammers who never have to go face-to-face with you to drain your savings account. Take this trend of calls made to inform the victim of a warrant based on missing jury duty or failing to appear: If you’re a reader, you know that when the scammer mentioned the MoneyPak or other pre—pay cash card, it’s a scam. You don’t have to be smart to outsmart the crooks. As I said before, always be “politely skeptical” and never afraid to ask questions. The only dumb one is the one you don’t ask. Don’t assume.
So, read this stuff.
Between Aug. 1 and 7, a woman reported she received a phone call from a Fulton County police officer regarding a warrant for failure to appear for jury duty. He told her he would need to arrest her and wait five days for her to make bond, but she could pay the bond and so, without verifying anything, she went to Kroger and purchased a Visa card for $900 and called, then gave the PIN number to the crook posing as the officer. She mailed the Visa card to an address. Later, her husband checked with the courthouse personnel on Central Avenue and found that this was a scam.
How many times have we seen this? Remember this checklist:
- Ask questions, detailed questions. They’ll give themselves away.
- Ask to speak to another person. Tell them you’ll return the call after you verify who is calling.
- Remain skeptical and don’t be intimidated. Pick at the story. Tell them you’ll come in but with counsel. Just don’t believe this line they’re floating—especially when they talk about paying them. That’s the dead giveaway.
In this case, the Fulton County police, or what’s left of it, doesn’t involve itself in jury matters. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department handles that. Most people don’t know that, but little things like this will give the crook’s agenda away. Always ask to speak to a supervisor and request ID. They don’t take payment on the phone via financial cards.
Between Aug. 8 and 14, a 60-year-old woman said she was contacted on the phone by someone claiming to be Lt. James Marshall with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and who said a warrant was in effect for her for contempt of court and failure to appear in Judge Bedford’s court. He instructed her to go to Kroger and get two Blue/Orange Recharge Cards and put $900 on each. He needed to stay on the phone the whole time with her and urged her not to call or speak to anyone about this. (Does this not scream clues to you??)
He said mail them to Nancy Clark at 136 Pryor Street in Atlanta, which is the Fulton Sheriff’s Department. He requested the card numbers so the matter could be paid immediately and warrants dismissed.
Unfortunately, she did so. She called him back and he confirmed he received the money but said there was another warrant and needed another $900. She refused. She later called the police.
Another resident, on the same day, received a similar call from the same name and department, but this victim didn’t take the bait. She refused to provide information to him.
A third potential victim was contacted on the same date by the same person posing as a lieutenant with Fulton County Sheriff’s Department. He told her to go to the courthouse to make the payment with the Kroger cards but she said she could not. She questioned him about this and he told her she would be arrested. She called her husband who confirmed it was a scam. She did not give him any information.