Charleston-area phone scam involves fake officers, deputies demanding money for fake warrants
The latest telephone scam involves fake police officers or deputies demanding money to settle non-existent warrants.
The Charleston City Police Department and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office both issued warnings on the scam Thursday.
Both agencies said their officers never ask for money over the phone to settle warrants. They advised anybody getting such a call to hang up.
Police got at least two complaints from residents on South Battery Street and one from a resident on Cross Street in West Ashley Wednesday.
An officer was on scene when one of the South Battery residents was on the phone with the scammer. The officer got on the phone, and the caller continued to claim he was Capt. Davis with the Sheriff’s Office even after the officer challenged him, according to a police report.
A resident on Cross Street in West Ashley also told police she got a similar call Wednesday.
Charleston County deputies got a complaint from Xavier Street in West Ashley July 27 and one from Geddes Avenue in West Ashley July 26.
None of the people who complained said they gave the callers any money.
The scammers claim to be with the sheriff’s office or police department calling about an outstanding warrant, such as a missed court appearance for a traffic ticket. The fake officer or deputy says the warrant can be settled over the phone – usually for around $350 – or they will send officers to the house to arrest the person. Usually the caller wants a credit-card number to settle the warrant. In one case, the caller instructed the resident to go to a Walgreen’s and get a Green Dot prepaid card and call him back with the number.
Investigators saw the same phone number in several of the calls but didn’t have any luck tracing it to a person, according to the incident reports.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.