Warning: Criminals use fear and the phone to steal your money!


COLUMBUS, Ga. – Deputies are warning you to beware of criminals using the telephone to scare you out of your money. The scammers have begun to target people in the Columbus area, and investigators and the Better Business Bureau want to be sure you are not the next victim.

The phone rings and the caller sternly tells you that you’ve forgotten jury duty or haven’t paid back taxes– and are about to be arrested. It’s enough to scare anyone. And unfortunately, it’s scaring some people right out of their hard- earned money.

The scam has been around for a while, but in Columbus this scheme has gone high tech. Criminals have found a way to make the Caller ID show the Sheriff’s or IRS’s number– when actually it’s a con-artist calling.

Also, the crooks have done their homework. They will mention the name of an investigator or deputy who really works in law enforcement and instruct their victims to call the police to verify the officer’s identity. It terrifies victims.

But tonight, spread the word– such phone calls are criminals looking to steal your money!

“Those folks that are calling you, pressuring you, to get the method of payment– the Green Dots, Western Union, or wiring money, all of those are red flags. Hang up the phone. Do not follow their instructions,” says Leonard Crain, President and CEO of the Columbus Better Business Bureau.

Crain adds that the IRS never calls someone about delinquent taxes. They communicate via mail. Also, remember, police will not call and announce they are about to  come and arrest you.

The criminals are so convincing; they play on emotions.

But if you get such a call, just hang up.

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