At least three people reported falling victim Sunday to a phone scam by a man claiming to be a sheriff's deputy.
Under no circumstances will a Bulloch County sheriff's deputy solicit payments for fines or other reasons, Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said Monday in a news release.
An Alpharetta resident called the sheriff's office Sunday to report having received a call from a man claiming to be "Lt. Martin" from the Bulloch County Sheriff's Department, Anderson said.
The caller told the woman she "had missed jury duty and that an arrest warrant had been issued for her arrest," Anderson said.
The suspect told the victim she could pay off the warrant by "purchasing a Green Dot prepaid card and providing ... her account number, which she did," the sheriff said. "The complainant was then advised to destroy all paperwork documenting the transaction."
A second person from Twin City reported a similar incident the same day. The Twin City victim also gave the caller her account information after buying a prepaid card as well, Anderson said.
A third victim reported a similar scam call to the Statesboro Police Department Sunday, Anderson said.
This victim said the caller identified himself as "Lt. John Martin," a Bulloch County sheriff's deputy.
Anderson warns citizens that no true law enforcement officer will ever ask for payment for fines via telephone and prepaid transaction cards.
"No employee of the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office will contact you soliciting money," the
sheriff said. "The sheriff's office does not accept monetary payments of any kind, even for traffic tickets written by deputies. If you miss court and a warrant is issued for your arrest, a warrants deputy will either arrest you and transport you to the jail for processing or contact you by phone and direct you to turn yourself in to the sheriff's office."
Warrants cannot be dismissed simply by paying money, he added.
"They require the person to be arrested or for the person to appear in court and have the warrant lifted by a judge," Anderson said.
Other law enforcement agencies across the region have received similar complaints.
"Please do not send money to anyone based on a phone call, no matter how official it may sound," Anderson said. "If you do receive such a call, report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency."
Anyone with information regarding similar cases is asked to contact Bulloch County sheriff's Investigator Walter Deal at (912) 764-1788, the sheriff's office at (912) 764-8888 or send anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.