BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is warning the families of inmates about a scam trying to pull at your heartstrings and steal your money.
It’s the latest scam where criminals are impersonating law enforcement.
“It’s unfortunate that these people are being able to use someone’s heart against them and someone’s love for their incarcerated family member,” said Lt. Joni Money, the assistant PIO for JCSO.
She says scammers are pretending to be Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office employees, calling family members of jail inmates.
“They are asking these people to send them money to get their loved one into a jail program that may or may not exist but we certainly don’t charge for it,” she explained.
These scammers can be pretty convincing because they may have inmates’ names and charges, all easily accessible and public information. Lt. Money says it’s a disheartening scam.
“Then you call and you give that to somebody who’s really hoping that their family member can be rehabilitated,” she added. “‘Yes, this is a program that would be great for my family member,’ and ‘Sure, I will give money to help my loved one to be on the straight and narrow, live a much better life.’ And now they are just out that money.”
She says the sheriff’s office will never ask for money over the phone or through a mobile payment service.
“We will never ever call you and ask you to give us money over a CashApp, a Venmo, any kind of electronic process,” said Lt. Money. “We won’t ask you to give us a credit card number, a gift card number, nothing like that.”
She adds if you ever get a random call from someone claiming to be with an organization and they’re asking for money, hang up and search for the public number online. You can call and confirm if it was a legitimate request or one from a scammer.
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