by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Johns Creek police say someone posing as a law enforcement officer is trying to extort money from unsuspecting people.
Susan Renner said the man threatened her. She considers herself a savvy person, but a phone call she received a few weeks ago caught her off-guard and sent her into a panic.
“He said his name was Michael Scott, that he was a detective with the Fulton County Police Department,” she told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “He had just received a warrant for my arrest.”
Renner said the man told her she’d taken out a fraudulent loan and the lender wanted to press charges.
“I said, ‘I need to verify all of this,’ and he got very belligerent and said, ‘This is a taped conversation,’” she recounted. “Then, (he) said Quicken loans would take restitution of $500 if I paid it by 5 o’clock.”
Renner said she asked for the man’s badge number and hung up the phone so she could verify his story.
“I called my husband to get home,” she said. “I thought I had to change because I was going to jail. He really had me frazzled.”
After two hours of frantic phone calls, Renner learned that there was no warrant for her arrest and that the caller was a scammer who had targeted other people in her St. Ives golf course community.
“The ones that contacted us were the ones who were smart and highly suspicious about this,” said Johns Creek Police Lt. Chris Byers. “We’re concerned there are some out there who have made these payments.”
Byers said the caller’s ruse should immediately raise red flags.
“Law enforcement in Georgia does not operate like that,” he said. “No police officer in Georgia will ask you to pay a fine on the side of the road, will ask you to pay any kind of fine to a pre-paid credit card account.”
Byers said investigators have determined the calls came from a pre-paid cellphone that could not be traced. Petchenik called the numbers the caller gave to the victims, but they were disconnected.
Renner said she wants other would-be victims to be as suspicious as she was.
“He was very authoritative. He was very professional,” she said. “I think it’s horrible. I think if you’re this creative, get a real job.”
Police said anyone who wants to verify whether warrant information is accurate can call 404-613-5700.