WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Police say they have an imposter in their midst. A man pretending to be a law enforcement officer has been calling residents and trying to scam them. That man has yet to be caught.
Police say that at least seven people have received phone calls from someone, saying they owe money for missing jury duty. The caller identifies himself as an officer, and tells them they need to load up a pre-paid card and send it his way; otherwise, they’re going to jail.
Brenda and Jesse Adams are two of the people targeted by the scammer. Last Friday, Brenda picked up the phone. On the other end was a man who identified himself as Sgt. Lance Miller. The caller said Brenda missed jury duty and owed $900 dollars.
“I answered the phone and thought, grief, why, you know, how did this happen?” said Brenda.
Brenda had a reason to be worried. In what she believes is purely coincidence, she had been summoned for jury duty months back. However, she had fallen ill and had been excused.
“She got very emotional about it; it scared her. That was the whole intent of their call, was a fear tactic,” said Jesse.
Jesse took the phone and told the caller he and Brenda would come to the courthouse to get everything sorted out.
“He informed me that if we came downtown he’d have to arrest her on the spot,” said Jesse.
The caller then countered by saying he would come to the Adams’ home. At that point, Jesse was convinced it was a scam.
“I said, ‘Yeah, why don’t you do that?’ Because I was mad enough then that, you know, I might have shot him,” said Jesse.
Jesse then asked for a call back number, hung up and called the Winston-Salem Police Department. They informed him that it was in fact a scam.
“I don’t know whether it’s older people they’re picking on or what, but it’s obviously a scare tactic, trying to get you to release quite a bit of money,” said Jesse.
FOX8 spoke to another would-be victim, who also said the caller identified himself as Sergeant Lance Miller. That person also contacted police before paying the caller. However, police say at least two people have fallen victim to the scam.
“If that’s the only way that he sees he can make any money, is trying to fraudulently take it from older people, he needs help,” said Jesse.
Winston-Salem police say if you get a similar phone call, don’t panic. Instead, just call them directly.