Police: scammer posing as Dorchester deputy

Police: scammer posing as Dorchester deputy

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Summerville Police are investigating multiple reports of a man posing as a Dorchester County deputy threatening arrest to get people to hand over money.

According to police reports, of five potential cases, four of them involve an urgent demand the target of the call purchase a prepaid bank card for an amount ranging from $475 to $750.50 to pay fines and avoid being immediately arrested for failing to appear for jury duty. In the fifth call, the caller reached the target's father, who told the caller that he would have his daughter return the phone call. The caller then said that he would "just have have a warrant issued for their arrest!" and hung up, the report states.

Two of the five targets did purchase the cards and lost hundreds of dollars, police said.

In one case, a woman told police she arrived home Wednesday and discovered a voicemail from a man who identified himself as a Lt. Carol Jones with the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office. The man told her there was a summons and a warrant for her arrest because she missed grand jury, she said.

The report states when the woman told the caller she didn't know what he was talking about, he provided an alleged court date and a date the notice was supposedly sent out alerting her to appear. She told police he then said he would show up at her front door to arrest her in 45 minutes and to avoid arrest, she would either have to bring $495.50 to the sheriff's office or buy a prepaid bank card in that amount and meet him at a local store so he could accept the payment.

The woman told police she was frightened by the threat and bought a prepaid bank card, but then contacted family members who met her at the store. Summerville Police also met her at the scene and noticed a black older model Lincoln Navigator with tinted windows leaving from a back parking lot. Police were able to reverse the transaction so the potential victim did not lose her money, the report states.

In the second incident, another female told Summerville Police she received a suspicious phone call from a man who also identified himself as Lt. Carl Jones with Dorchester County. The incident report states the man told her she needed to pay $750.50 for having missed scheduled jury duty, and that she should purchase a pre-paid bank card, then call the man back so he could arrange to take the card as payment.

She told police that she didn't believe the caller, and contacted the sheriff's office, which confirmed there was no person by the name the suspect gave employed there, and that there was no scheduled jury duty that she had missed.

In both cases, the callers gave police the same callback number from the alleged deputy. Police called the number and the person who answered hung up when the officer identified himself as a Summerville police officer, officials say.

The third case involved a caller who identified himself as Lt. John Martin with the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, the police report states. Police say the caller told a male target that he would have to pay $610 to prevent a warrant being issued for missing jury duty. The report states that the target of the call did purchase the card as instructed and called the alleged deputy back to give him the number of the card. The victim told police that he asked the man for his badge number and was told it was Badge #709, and asked if he could call the sheriff's department to verify the interaction, but the caller told him that if he hung up at that point, it would start the warrant process over again.

The victim told police he felt strange about the interaction and then called for the balance on the card, only to discover that the card had already been emptied.

The fourth report details another man being contacted by an alleged deputy who again used the name Lt. Carl Jones. The target was told he owed a find of $475 for having missed jury duty, police say. The victim told police that he purchased the card and called the man back with the card number, and then checked the balance of the card and discovered it had been cleaned out.

In all cases, police determined there was no such person employed by the sheriff's office.

If you have any information on these incidents or feel that you have been a victim of a similar incident, call Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.