Better Business Bureau warns Triad residents about loan payment scam

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina is warning the public about a scam involving people pretending to be law enforcement who threaten to arrest you if you do not make a payment on a loan.

"The sheriff's department was going to go to their home and arrest them," said Kevin Hinterberger, president and CEO of BBB of Central NC.

Hinterberger says that was the threat made to a Greensboro woman over the phone Tuesday.

The caller claimed to be from the Guilford County Sheriff's Office and demanded the woman make a payment on a loan she never took out.

"She received instructions that she was to go to Western Union and then wire them a sum of money," he said.

Hinterberger says the woman was told she had a $1,700 loan which was past due.

The caller said pay up or go to jail.

"Do a one-time payment it would be roughly $350 and that would settle the debt," Hinterberger said she was told.

The woman never paid although the call seemed legit.

"The caller ID said that they were law enforcement," Hinterberger was told by the woman.

But it wasn't, instead the BBB says it's the latest scam -- people pretending to be law enforcement who say you owe money and that there's a warrant out for your arrest.

“Don't fall for it,” Hinterberger said. “Ask them to send you this information in writing."

Lt. David Pruitt, with the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, says scammers have pretended to be law enforcement before but never to collect a loan.

"The sheriff's office will never call and ask for payment over the phone," Pruitt said.

He says any action taken by the sheriff's office is done in person, especially serving a warrant.

"You can’t buy your way out of a warrant,” Pruitt said. “A warrant has to be served in person with an officer."

Pruitt says another red flag is how the caller asks for payment.

"Especially if they're asking for prepaid cards or gift cards," he said.

Red flags Hinterberger says he's glad the woman paid attention to.

"Things just weren't adding up for her," he said.

The sheriff's office says if you get one these calls, take down as much information as you can.

Write down their phone number, the call time, the date and report it to law enforcement.