SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - There is no Lt. Richardson with the Salisbury Police Department, but if someone making that claim calls you, police say you need to just hang up.
Captain Melonie Thompson told WBTV that on Thursday morning at least two residents received calls from "Lt. Richardson." The caller told them they had missed jury duty and that if they did not come up $500, they would be arrested.
An elderly woman did make such a payment, according to police.
The call is a scam, police say, and it's not just happening in Salisbury.
The Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office has recently received calls about jury duty scams and sometimes the caller is able to mask their ID/number, so it may appear as though the calls are coming from a legitimate number and when you return their scam call it may have a telephone tree with prompts set up for you to speak with different court divisions.
The scammer will instruct victims to use pre-paid cards as their method of payment. These prepaid debit cards, Green Dot MoneyPak cards, Reloadit Prepaid Debit Cards, and gift cards like iTunes cards, have become scammers' preferred way of getting their hands on your money.
This is true of IRS scams as well as many others. The caller claims that the victim is facing charges for missing jury duty – and asks for money to take care of the bogus charge. During those efforts, the caller asks the victim to get a prepaid financial card and then share the account information.
To protect yourself, remember:
• Real notices for jury duty arrive by mail.
• Legitimate public officials won't call to threaten you with arrest if you don't show up for jury duty or fail to pay a fine immediately.
• Hang up on jury duty scammers and other crooks who try to trick you out of your hard-earned money.
• If someone tries to get you to use a prepaid debit card or a gift card to pay money they say you owe them, you are almost certainly being scammed.
• If you get one of these calls, report it to your local law enforcement agency and/or file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by completing the form online at www.ncdoj.gov.