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Nick Shepherd

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New scam claims pay or go to jail

September 12th, 2015 6:00 pm by Nick Shepherd

New scam claims pay or go to jail

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If you get a call from someone claiming to represent Sullivan County officials and are asked for money, do not give it to them. It is a scam.

That is the message Sullivan County Attorney General Barry Staubus wants to get out to the public. He said his office has received numerous calls lately about this particular scam.

"A number of people have gotten calls from individuals claiming they either represent the court system or they represent the prosecutor's office or they represent law enforcement, in which they say you have to pay us certain money or you're going to go to jail or you're going to be prosecuted," he said.

He said the scammers will say a variety of things to try and get people to give them money. Some may say the person did not show up for jury duty and need to pay a fine or face jail time. Or they will say a person did not pay this cost or that fine and if the person fails to pay, they will either be prosecuted or go to jail.

And this scam utilizes current technology to make the calls seem legitimate. While Staubus said many of the calls orginiate from outside the area, the scammers use technology to make the number that appears on a caller id look like a local number. And it can even make it look like the phone number for the District Attorney's office.

The scammers will ask people to send the money either by wire services or email. That should immediately raise red flags.

But Staubus said do not be fooled because his office never calls anyone soliciting money and neither does the County Clerk's office or law enforcement. He said his office does not do debt collection and is not involved in civil matters at all.

"We don't call people and tell them to pay money in lieu of being prosecuted," he said. "If somebody calls you like that, it's a scam, and you need to alert law enforcement or our office immediately."

He said if people receive a call, to try and get as much identifying information as possible. Staubus said to take down the number, even though it could be a fake number, and pass along the information to his office or to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

Staubus wants the public to be on the lookout for these calls and to not give them anything.

“Don’t give them any money, don’t give them any personal identifiers, don’t give them your credit card number, don’t give them your social security number or your bank account number,” he said. “Don’t give them any kind of identification so they can perpetrate identity theft and take your money.”

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