Once again, a jury duty scam is targeting Lauderdale County, but this time a phone scammer is posing as a well-known deputy in the area.
“This is how the scam works. These people are very good. They have legitimate names. They get legitimate addresses. They usually call and say you didn’t show up. If you’ll pay $200, the judge will excuse you,” said Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson.
Since Thursday, residents have been receiving phone calls from a scammer claiming to be deputy Willie Graham. One resident, Ms. Johnson, said the scammer has been calling her nonstop.
“It’s sad, you know, that they’re scamming people for money and then on top of that using someone else’s name.”
She said the scammer told her there was a bench warrant for her arrest for failing to attend jury duty.
“He’s asking for $512. He told me to send him $250, and I have 72 hours to send him the other $250. If not, I was going to have to do 30 days in jail.”
Ms. Johnson said the scammer told her to put the money on a green dot prepaid visa card, and told her to call him back and give him the card’s security code.
“I want to stress to the public at no time is jury duty denoted around any money amount. The Sheriff’s Deputy can come to your home or job and pick you up for not showing up to jury duty. But never, ever is money asked,” said Donna Jill Johnson.
The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department says to call the department if you suspect that a phone scammer has called you. The department says it’s seeking the help of federal authorities in investigating the jury duty scam.