SCAM ALERT: Caller poses as Fayette Co. deputy to get money
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Lexington woman has a warning for the community after being scammed out of nearly $2,000. Investigators say they have gotten hundreds of complaints about the same scam in the past few months.
A woman we will identify only as Lynn had a message waiting for her on her answering machine when she got home from work Monday afternoon.
"Hello, this is Sgt. Sellers down here at the Fayette County Sheriff's Department," the recording says.
Lynn said when she called back, the so-called sergeant told her that there were outstanding warrants for her arrest for failing to show up for jury duty. She was instructed to get Green Dot MoneyPak cards to pay her fines and avoid being arrested.
Lynn and her husband stayed on the phone with the man as they went to the store to get the prepaid money cards. They got four of them, totaling $1,978.80.
The man instructed them to provide him with the numbers on the back of the card in order to pay for the fine before going to the courthouse to finish up the process, Lynn said.
When they got to the courthouse, they went through the metal detectors and asked for Sgt. Sellers. There was no Sgt. Sellers. Instead, a deputy there told them they had been scammed.
"I started crying. I mean, that's a lot of money, for anybody," Lynn said. "I was sick. I have been saving money for myself to buy a new car. And it's gone. Just in the blink of an eye. It's gone."
Lynn is not the only one to fall into the scammer's trap. Far from it.
Deputies say they have gotten 200 calls complaining about this particular scam since February, with 23 victims shelling out a total of $28,000.
Deputies say they have taken "Scam Alert" posters to places where people can buy those prepaid cards, to help get the word out that it is a scam. A large standup banner sits in the lobby at the courthouse with the same information.
"If there's a warrant for your arrest, we're going to come and talk to you, find you, in order to...make the arrest," Deputy Darrell Jones said. "A law enforcement officer will never ask you to pay money in order to take care of that fine or that warrant."
Deputies say the scammers use several phone numbers with a Lexington area code (859).
FOX 56's Garrett Wymer tried calling the number left on Lynn's machine, but it went to voicemail.
"Sorry, our deputies are busy assisting other callers," the recording said.
The Fayette Co. Sheriff's Office says if you are contacted, do not send money. Instead, call the (real) sheriff's office at (859) 252-1771.