Scammers in Lincoln County are using missed jury duty claims to get money deposited to inmate accounts

The scam directs people to come to the sheriff’s office and deposit money after supposedly missing jury duty.
The scammers tell folks to deposit money at the sheriff's office's inmate ATM to pay fines that don't exist.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) - A new scam in Lincoln County has potential victims headed to cash machines and depositing money at the Sheriff’s Office after they have been told they either missed a jury summons or had other fines on the books.

Officials say don’t fall for it, because it’s one on many scams going on in the area.

“Taking money to an ATM – that’s a red flag for me right there,” one person said.

Susan Dalrimple says she’s heard of fake jury scams before, but nothing like this.

“I get scam calls like that all the time on my phone, and I just block the number,” she said.

What the scammers are demanding shocked a lot of people here in Lincolnton.

“I thought it was crazy,” Randi Hicks said.

The Sheriff’s Office says the lasted round of scams hits a little too close to home. Most of the time they make demands of gift cards from box stores under pressure of a supposed arrest after failing to come to court for jury duty.

Deputies say that this time around, the grifters want you to bring cash to the Sheriff’s Office itself, to a self-serve ATM.

This is no ordinary cash machine. It funnels money directly to county jail inmates’ accounts to help them pay for everything from phone privileges to extra items in the commissary.

Officials have even had to put up signs warning people of the scam and not to fall prey to it.

Older residents have often been the targets of such scams.

“I sit with a woman who is 91 and she gets calls,” one resident said. “They seem to go after older people.”

But how do you figure out if the phone call is a scam or if it’s the real deal?

We went to the dedication of the new courthouse in Lincolnton on Friday afternoon to ask if you could be arrested if you miss jury duty. The clerk of court said that’s not how it works.

“You are not in trouble, you will not get arrested,” Clerk of Court Holly Kizer said. “You will be just ordered to come back to court in front of a judge.”

So when it comes to getting those obnoxious calls, the best advice is usually the simplest: don’t give into it.

If you have questions you can always call the courthouse to make sure they didn’t call you for jury duty, but whatever you do, don’t give out your personal information.

Related: Local baking company loses $20,000 in client scam

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