At least two residents recently reported being victimized by imposters who called them, claiming to be from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, and threatened them with arrest for missing jury duty unless they paid thousands of dollars.
In both cases, the unsuspecting victims were instructed to buy prepaid credit cards or gift cards to avoid being arrested. Unfortunately, both complied, and were scammed.
Here’s how it works: A criminal calls random people or leaves a voicemail message, identifying himself as a member of the Sheriff’s Office—often pretending to be one of our legitimate sworn officers.
The message says the victim must bring money to the Sheriff’s Office be- cause the victim missed serving jury duty and will be arrested unless they pay up.
Or, the caller demands that the victim physically go to a store or go on-line—to buy gift cards or prepaid money cards while talking on the phone to the caller. Once the victim provides the caller codes from these gift cards, the victim is giving away thousands of their hard-earned dollars to a criminal. Money they’ll likely not see again.
Remember: It’s a scam. The most important takeaway here is that your Sheriff’s Office—and every other respectable law enforcement or government agency—doesn’t operate that way: We don’t call people and demand money if you miss jury duty. Nor does the IRS or the Department of Homeland Security. Please remember this and maybe save yourself a huge headache.
On a happier note, I’m glad to tell you about an attempted scam that was thwarted—thankfully.
An 80-year-old DeLand woman recently received a call from an out-of-state number with a man on the line claiming to be an attorney. He said her grandson had been in an accident and was arrested for DUI. In order to bond him out of jail, she was supposed to gather $6,500 in cash that would be picked up from her home.
Our sheriff’s detectives were notified of the scam before any money was paid, and they arranged to set up outside the victim’s house. Eventually, a Lyft driver (who was unaware of the scam) arrived to pick up the envelope, but detectives were there to meet him. The scam was
With the quick reporting and the fast response by these detectives, the would-be victim in this case still has her $6,500 and we’re investigating. This was a great job by all, especially the woman who alerted law enforcement instead of being robbed of her money!
Please spread the word about these types of scams, especially to people who might be vulnerable.
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, or if you receive a phone call like these described, call our non-emergency number 386.248.1777 and report your concerns.
We’d like to have more cases of people thinking wisely and avoiding becoming crime victims! We’re always here to help.
If you get such a scam call, be suspicious. Just Hang Up!
Stay smart and stay safe,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood