Florence County Sheriff’s Office: New year, same old scams

January 9, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. -- For the Florence County Sheriff’s Department there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to scams -- and they have the reports form the past couple of days to prove it.

“The scams take several forms but seem to have a common theme of a caller impersonating a law enforcement officer, even (Florence County Sheriff’s Office) deputies, who threaten arrest on a bench warrant if immediate payment using a credit or gift card is not forthcoming,” said Maj. Mike Nunn, Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

“The deputy then indicates that arrest is imminent if the person does not immediately pay a fine of several hundred dollars by way of credit card or gift card. The fake deputy usually tells the victim not to come to the sheriff’s office to pay (because no one here will know anything about it) and will refuse to meet in person (because he is probably nowhere near),” Nunn wrote in a release on the scams. “He just needs the PIN for the credit or gift card and it will be taken care of. Unfortunately all of this is untrue and far too many have fallen for the scam.”

Nunn said the agency will not contact people by phone if they have an outstanding arrest or bench warrant, they’ll just show up and arrest them.

″(The sheriff’s office) is not a collection agency for the courts, will not demand money from you and will never offer you a ‘get out of jail card’ in exchange for money, regardless of whether the payment method is cash, check, money order or gift card,” Nunn said.

Nunn said most of the calls -- despite what caller ID may indicate -- originate outside the US and there is little the agency can do about lost money.

If people receive such a call, Nunn said the best approach is to hang up.

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