Don’t fall for jury duty scam

Phone scammers who claim to be county law officers are back in business in Atmore and the surrounding area.

Local law enforcement officials reported last week that the most recent attempted shakedown is made using a combination of the telephone and the threat of incarceration in an effort to con money out of local citizens who are apparently either apathetic or forgetful about their civic duties.

Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said last Friday that the grafter calls an individual and claims to be a deputy with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

The intended victim is told that he or she ignored a summons and missed jury duty, an oversight that requires payment of a fine in order to prevent issuance of a bench warrant for the person’s arrest. Those who bite are then told to load an unspecified amount onto a Green Dot money card and wait for a follow-up call, during which the card number must be provided to the bogus lawman.

“It’s a scam,” said Brooks. “We’ve had several reports over the last few days from people who have received these calls.”

ECSO Chief Deputy Mike Lambert reported recently that sheriff’s deputies not only don’t collect fines and fees, but that no department or agency of county government handles such business over the phone.