For immediate release:
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is again receiving reports from citizens who have fallen victim to a common telephone scam. After several months with no reports of this nature, we have received fourteen such reports over the past two weeks. Three of the victims paid the suspect $1,000.00 each and a fourth victim paid $2,000.00.
The scam begins when the victim receives a call from someone purporting to be from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, most recently identifying himself as “Sgt. Boyd” or “Detective Boyd”. The caller informs the victim that he has failed to respond to a jury or court summons and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The caller then offers the victim an opportunity to avoid arrest by paying a fine over the phone using a reloadable debit card, usually directing the victim to a Kroger or Food Lion store to purchase multiple reloadable debit cards to pay “fines” ranging from $1,000.00 – $2,000.00.
Once the reloadable debit cards have been purchased, the caller directs the victim to provide the scratch off account numbers located on the back of the debit cards. Once these numbers are provided to the caller, the scam is complete. The caller often keeps the victim on the phone for two hours or more during the transaction and instructs the victim to bring proof of the debit card purchase to the sheriff’s office or courthouse for reimbursement.
These callers are very skilled, making them very convincing. They usually have extensive knowledge of the law enforcement agency they are impersonating and often provide a phone number where they can be reached. They often use the names of staff members who actually work for the agency they are impersonating.
It is very important that citizens are aware that no local, state or federal law enforcement agency will contact them by phone to request payment over the phone. Calls of this nature should be considered suspicious and they should not follow instructions to make a payment over the phone.
Any citizen who has received a call of this nature is encouraged to document the caller’s name and the originating phone number and to file a report with their local law enforcement agency. In Gwinnett County, victims may contact our Investigative Services Unit at 770-619-6655 to file a report.