by: Richard Elliot Updated:ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga —
Rockdale County deputies are warning people to be on guard against what's being called a jury duty phone scam.
Cpl. Michael Camp said several people in Rockdale and Newton counties have been contacted by scam artists pretending to be sheriff's deputies.
"The victims receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a lieutenant in the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office," said Camp. "They're telling the victims that they missed jury duty and that they need to pay a fine. If they don't pay the fine then at that point, they'll be arrested."
Conyers resident Joan Davidson said she got one of those calls and nearly fell for it because it seemed so real.
"I was almost convinced, but thank goodness I didn't," said Davidson.
According to Davidson, someone claiming to be a Lt. John Martin with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office called her and said she missed jury duty. He ordered her to take $1,867 out of her bank and purchase a pre-paid Green Dot card. Davidson said at this point, she got suspicious, hung up, then called her nephew, a real deputy sheriff. He warned her it was a scam reported all around north Georgia.
She was very surprised when the fake Lt. Martin called back and put his fake captain on the line. She said he became very aggressive.
"And I said, 'The problem is, I don't believe a word this John Martin has said,'" said Davidson. "'I know it's a scam, and I'm not taking any money anywhere.' He said, ‘Well, this will become a felony, and you could spend up to 14 days in jail,’ and I said, 'If it's for real, then you'll just have to come get me and take me to jail,' and I hung up."
Channel 2 Action News called the number on Davidson's caller ID, but that number had been disconnected.
Camp said deputies would never call those who had missed jury duty on the phone and order them to pay a fine. He said the standard procedure for someone missing jury duty would be for the County Clerk's Office to issue a subpoena which a deputy would then deliver to the offender's home. That offender would then be required to appear in court to explain why they missed jury duty.
"If you get a call, and you think it's a scam, it probably is," said Camp. "Contact your local law enforcement agency, whether it's the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office or wherever you do live."