The Columbus Police Department is warning elderly residents to be on the lookout for telephone scammers posing as a law enforcement official to get money.
A senior volunteer was the victim of a telephone scam last week in Columbus where more than $1,000 was lost to the scammer.
The volunteer received a telephone call from a person who acted as a law enforcement official. The caller said there was an active arrest warrant on file but it could be taken care of by putting money on several Green Dot cards. The cards may be purchased at retailers or kiosks and preloaded with a certain amount of money.
After purchasing the cards, the victim was directed to call back with the pin numbers on the cards to collect the money.
Police and Better Business Bureau officials have said once a scammer gets access to the funds on the cards, the money is gone.
Police are asking all elderly residents to discontinue talking with any caller seeking money to pay a court fine. You should call the police and report the incident.
The scam is similar to one the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office recently investigated in the area. John L. Dewberry, 37, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, is accused of posing as a sheriff’s lieutenant to get money from victims on court fines.
Sheriff John Darr recently warned residents about callers seeking money over the phone for court fees. “In law enforcement, we are not calling anybody and telling you that you are going to have a warrant if you don’t bring some money,” he said. “No, we don’t do that.”
Dewberry is still being held in the Muscogee County Jail on one count each of theft by deception, two counts of impersonating a peace officer and using a communication facility to commit a crime. Investigators have said calls were tracked backed to his telephone.
Anyone who has received a call seeking money for a court fine should call the Fraud Division at 706-225-4314 at the Columbus Police Department.