SAVANNAH, GA (June 29, 2015): Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are reminding the public of telephone scams in which thieves pose as police officers or bill collectors to trick victims into paying fines or bills that never existed.

Callers are contacting victims to claim they owe fines for not appearing in court or that they or a family member owe a delinquent debt and will try to trick or intimidate the victim into sending money to pay it. Recent scam attempts have been reported by residents, including police officers.

The telephone number provided and listed in written correspondence has been used by scammers in the past.  The company listed has a website, however, it appears to be fraudulent. Investigators continue to seek the callers.

“Financial crimes will continue to investigate the report in an attempt to determine if prosecution is possible,” said Sgt. Jeremy Henry, who commands the Financial Crimes Unit. “Too often such scams are directed against the elderly or people in ill health who can least afford to lose the money. Some of these scams have cost victims tens of thousands of dollars.”

Callers often insist that victims purchase a payment card such as a Green Dot to pay the debt or fine. Then they ask for the number on the card. Once they have that number, they can obtain the money and the victim has lost.

A caller may be a fake debt collector if he:

  • seeks payment on a debt for a loan you do not recognize;
  • refuses to provide a mailing address or phone number;
  • asks for personal financial or sensitive information;
  • exerts high pressure to try to scare you into paying, such as threatening to have you arrested or to report you to a law enforcement agency.

If you think that a caller may be a fake debt collector:

  • Ask for a name, company, street address, and telephone number.
  • Stop speaking with the caller.
  • Never give any caller personal financial or other sensitive information. No reputable company would do that.
  • Contact your creditor, if you actually have a debt.

Police advise residents to refuse to conduct business over the telephone or computer, even if the caller insists he or she are law enforcement officers. Instead, report the call to police, Federal Trade Commission, and/or your state’s Attorney General’s office with information about the suspicious caller.