SAVANNAH, GA. (March 22, 2017) — Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department officers are warning citizens of two recent phone scams reoccurring in the Savannah area.

The first scam involves callers claiming to work for the courthouse. The scammer tells the victim they missed jury duty and that there is a warrant for their arrest. The scammer claims that, in order to avoid arrest, the victim must pay the fine immediately by purchasing a prepaid debit card, such as Green Dot.

Financial Crimes detectives said no court official will ever call and demand payment in such a way.

The second scam involves victims receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The scammer insists the victim owes money to the IRS and demands payment over the phone. If the victim does not comply, the scammer tells the victim they will be arrested.

Detectives warn that if you receive a phone call of this nature, hang up the phone and do not send any money. If you believe you may owe money to the IRS, contact them directly at 800-829-1040.

Scammers are usually extremely aggressive in pressuring victims to pay. Often scams such as these originate in other countries, making suspects difficult to trace.

“The important thing is for victims to trust their instincts,” said Sgt. Jeramy Henry of SCMPD’s Financial Crimes Unit. “If unsolicited callers are demanding payment, making questionable demands that make you uncomfortable or seem outlandish, disconnect and call police. Don’t provide payment or any of your personal information when you have doubts.”

SCMPD recommends the following practices to avoid falling victim to such crimes:

  • Avoid providing funds through wire transfers or money cards.
  • Never verify your personal information.
  • When possible, get the caller’s name and contact information before disconnecting.
  • Notify law enforcement immediately. Document the encounter with a police report.
  • React thoughtfully, never in haste.

For more information contact the SCMPD Financial Crimes Unit at (912) 651-6735.

If you discover you are the target of a scam, please report it to your local police agency as well as to the Federal Trade Commission (Click the image below to go to the FTC’s Online Complaint Reporting.)