Fraud concept. Wooden blocks with text on table

Fraud concept. Wooden blocks with text on table. Copy space

Don’t be scammed!

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said scam calls are making their rounds throughout Bertie County – this time specifically citing missed jury duty.

“The callers are telling people they missed federal jury duty in Elizabeth City,” Sheriff Holley said. “They are then telling them they must pay between $1,500 and $2,000 to avoid a contempt order that has been lodged against them.”

At times, the scammers are using names of actual deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office or Elizabeth City Police Department.

But, the sheriff insisted there are numerous things wrong with the calls.

“First and foremost, if a judge issues a contempt order for us to pick you up, we’ll be by in person,” Sheriff Holley said. “There’s no way to buy your way out of a contempt order. If one were actually issued, one of my deputies would give you a free ride to the magistrate’s office and there wouldn’t be a way to pay it off.”

The second, according to the sheriff, is law enforcement officers aren’t in the money business. They will not call and ask for or demand money.

“Our job is to enforce the law, not collect money,” Sheriff Holley said. “There is never any reason whatsoever that someone from my office or one of our two police departments would call and tell you to put money on a card and then give us the numbers. That simply would not happen.”

Sheriff Holley said the scammers use fear and intimidation to try to scare the victims into giving them the money.

“They scare people by claiming they will send an officer to arrest them if they hang up the telephone,” Bertie County Chief Deputy Kenny Perry said. “If they tell you that, they are not law enforcement officers. Hang up the telephone and call the sheriff’s office.

“If they tell you that you can’t hang up and call the sheriff’s office, then it is not a legitimate agency,” Perry said. “If an officer were to call you, it would be perfectly acceptable to call them back at the sheriff’s office so you can be assured they are who they claim to be.”

Sheriff Holley said at least three people were contacted by the scammers, but only one of the calls was partially successful.

“I cannot stress this enough: do not be intimidated into giving someone money,” Sheriff Holley said. “These scammers live off fear and intimidation, but we don’t operate that way.”

The sheriff said if anyone had concerns about whether a call was legitimate they should hang up and call the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at 252-794-5330.

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.