Jul 28, 2020 at 12:18 PM
A Colbert man on the sex offender register was scammed out of $1,000 recently after he received a phone call demanding money from a man he believed was a ranking deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
The scam — common in Northeast Georgia where callers assume names of actual officers in various agencies — took place Saturday afternoon while the man was working in Oconee County, according to a Madison County sheriff’s report.
The 34-year-old man told deputies that the caller identified himself as a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office who had a warrant for the man’s arrest for failing to re-register on the sex offender’s registry.
The man told the deputy he believed he was talking to an actual officer and he complied with the man’s orders to purchase $1,000 in gift cards and provide him with the activation numbers.
The caller also demanded to remain on the phone while the victim drove to his home in Colbert to obtain the cash, according to the report. The man then went to a Dollar General and purchased Green Dot cards totaling $1,000.
The man did not realize he had been defrauded until he contacted his probation officer to make sure there was not an active warrant for his arrest, according to the report.
The responding deputy called the number provided by the caller and he listened to a voicemail that claimed to be the sheriff’s lieutenant.
The deputy, who reported he has spoken to the named lieutenant countless times, knew that “without a shadow of doubt,” the voicemail recording was not made by the lieutenant.
Sheriff’s Capt. Jimmy Patton said Monday that it appears con artists working this scheme take information off agency websites to make the calls appear legitimate.
Law enforcement officers constantly warn citizens to be wary of any caller asking for money on gift cards.