The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is issuing a warning to Massachusetts residents about an elaborate scam being attempted by people impersonating Department employees.
In one reported case, a woman received a telephone call from a man falsely identifying himself as “Chief Deputy Alphonso Johnson from Civil Process.” The caller then told his potential victim that she was in contempt of court for failing to appear for jury duty and she would need to pay a stated amount of $625.00 to settle a bond so that they can close the matter. The scammer also told the woman that she would need to pay in the form of prepaid credit cards.
While many people believe that they could never be the victims of such a seemingly obvious attempt at deception, the perpetrators of this crime are continuously updating and enhancing their methods to convince their intended targets. Scammers are now using equipment and software that “spoofs” the telephone numbers of actual businesses and organizations, so that it appears on Caller ID that the caller is actually from the place that they are claiming to be from.
In an additional attempt to enhance the caller’s appearance of authenticity, the scammer created a fake “Summons for Jury Duty” form with the intended victim’s name and current address printed on it, marked with a date that has already passed, indicating the date that the scammer claims their intended target failed to report for jury duty.
In past scams, callers have even asked their intended victims to purchase prepaid credit cards and bring them to the front of the Department’s Civil Process building.
Once again, the Department wants to emphatically reiterate that it does not call to collect money and, if anyone should receive a call resembling the examples given above, they are advised not to give out any personal information and to call their local police department to report the caller. Above all, they should not, under any circumstances, take out money and go to meet these callers at any location, nor should they wire or send any money or other form of currency. The Department also asks that you call the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department’s Investigative Division at: (617) 704-6514. You may also reach the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Civil Process Division at: (617) 704-6999.