ROCK SPRINGS — A Rock Springs woman recently fell victim to a telephone scam that is once again circulating in Sweetwater County.
Lowell said that swindlers are calling people, identifying themselves as deputies, and are even using the phony name “Deputy Cook.” (Lowell said there is no “Deputy Cook” employed by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and pointed out that scammers often use a false last name – often selected at random – to lend credibility to the con.)
The callers are telling their intended victims that a warrant has been issued for their arrest for failing to report for jury duty and they are liable to be taken into custody at any time.
The swindlers are directing the persons they call to go to a convenience store or other retail outlet and there purchase a “green dot card” (a debit card), with which they must pay a $2,000 fee to avoid arrest.
During their phone calls with their intended victims, the swindlers sound very authentic, often know some details about the person they are calling, and provide other details, such as a fake “case number” and the Sweetwater County Courthouse’s address in Green River.
“It’s all part of the scam, to make it look more convincing,” Lowell warned. He emphasized that, first of all, no agency of the criminal justice system is going to call to demand money or payment for fines, missed jury duty, overdue traffic tickets, etc.. If you receive a call like this, make a note of the agency or department that the caller claims to be with and also note the number that appears on your caller ID.
Next, hang up, then follow up, using the information you’ve noted. Check with the organization the caller claimed to be with. And most important of all, NEVER provide such a caller with any personal or financial information.
“We need to get the word out on this as far and as quickly as possible,” Lowell said. “To avoid others being victimized, please help us get this warning out, especially via social media.”
Lowell also said it’s particularly important to make family members or friends who are seniors aware of the scam, as they are often especially targeted.
For more information on this and many other fraud schemes, law enforcement officials recommend the FBI website.