Oct. 2—PRINCETON — Mercer County residents have reported a scam in which a caller claiming to be a sheriff’s deputy tells them that they are facing being arrested and fined, the chief deputy of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.
“People are calling using the names of deputies and saying that people have failed to show up for their grand jury date, and they’re telling people that they have warrants for their arrests and they have to pay fines,” Chief Deputy A.P. Christian said.
The victims are then told to purchase gift cards, then call back and give the scammers the cards’ numbers, Christian said.
“We want to let the public know that we don’t call and request money, and that we don’t do our financial business in the shadows,” he stated. “If they have a question or concern, all they have to do is come to the sheriff’s department.”
One woman the scammers telephoned had been given a deputy’s name and the name of a circuit court judge, Christian stated.
“They’re just trying to scare somebody into doing something rash,” he added. “If it seems odd, it probably is.”
Christian said the department does not call people to ask for money. Issues dealing with fines or warrants are handled in person and in court.
“We do not call and threaten people with a warrant in lieu of a fine. That’s a scammer’s way of trying to get people to give up money,” he said.
People who have been contacted by scammers can call the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department at 304-487-8364.