AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Once again, someone is pretending to be with the Augusta County Sheriff's Office to try and scam people out of money through phone calls.
It goes like this.
You get a phone call, and the caller claims to be "Deputy Hall from the Augusta County Sheriff's Office," telling you that the sheriff's office have warrants on file for your arrest because you missed jury duty.
The caller then directs you to call another telephone number for more information.
Regardless of who the caller pretends to be, or what happens in that call, these kinds of calls always end the same way.
The caller will instruct you to purchase a green dot card (a kind of prepaid credit card) or some kind of gift card and then call them back with the numbers to provide payment.
If you go through with providing the numbers for payment, by the time you realize you've been had, the money you spent on those cards will be gone, and it cannot be refunded.
But the Augusta County Sheriff's Office, or any police department, will never call you to ask you to provide finances of any sort to them under the threat of arrest.
The ACSO also doesn't even employ a Deputy Hall.
If you get a call like this, you're encouraged to contact the ACSO directly by calling (540) 245-5333 to verify if the person that called you is indeed employed there.
Do not buy a credit card in response to this call and do not provide any information.
The Winchester Police Department offers the below tips to help avoid falling victim to a telephone scam:
• Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payments.
• Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers, including: account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other identifying information.
• Never wire money, provide debt or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone you do not know.
• If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
• Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know. With spoofing becoming more common, question the number on the caller ID. Be cautious and verify the person on the other end of the phone.
• Don’t be afraid to tell the caller you need time to think about your decision. Talk with a trusted friend, family member, or call your department.
You can learn more about scams affecting our area here.