Albemarle County Sheriff's Office Warns of Jury Duty Scam

Posted: Updated:
Vehicle with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office (FILE IMAGE) Vehicle with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office (FILE IMAGE)
Chan Bryant Chan Bryant
Albemarle County Sheriff's Office (FILE PHOTO) Albemarle County Sheriff's Office (FILE PHOTO)

The Albemarle County Sheriff's Office is warning people of a new phone scam after multiple people were conned.

Chief Deputy Chan Bryant says someone is calling people, claiming to be a sergeant and saying you missed jury duty and need to pay a fine to avoid jail time.

So far, 40 people have reported receiving this type of phone call.

Bryant says the scammer is asking people to pay using a pre-paid debit card. Authorities say a court will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

The chief deputy says if you do receive a call like this, hang up and report it to law enforcement.

"We're asking everybody to please notify the Albemarle County Police Department to let them know so they can take a report of this scam, because the sooner we catch this person, hopefully it will put an end to the citizens receiving phone calls and being victims," said Bryant.

A scam similar to this, happened about eight months ago, and the sheriff office says it resurfaces annually.

Report scams to the Albemarle County Police Department at (434) 296-5807.

07/09/2018 Release from the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office:

On July 9, 2018, Chief Deputy Chan Bryant of the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office warns the public of a scam in which callers pose as Sergeant Sellers and claims that the victim is about to be arrested for not appearing for jury duty, but can avoid arrest by paying a fine.

The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office has recently received an increased number of phone calls from victims regarding these scams and deems it of the utmost importance to issue this Press Release to promote awareness and prevent more people from falling prey to such scams.

The scammers often provide information that seems very convincing, including the real names the location of the courthouse, court phone numbers, and case and badge numbers. Recent scammers have also included the victim’s work address, home address, and date of birth, which further leads the victim to believe the call is legitimate. The caller then tells the victim they can avoid arrest by paying an immediate fine and walks them through purchasing a prepaid debit or gift card or making an electronic payment to satisfy the “fine.”

Chief Deputy Chan Bryant warns, “The people conducting this scam can be very convincing. They call their law-abiding victims and terrify them with threats of arrest and jail unless they pay up immediately. The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office does not operate this way. If we have a warrant for your arrest, we will show up at your house, we will not give you a phone call. We do not contact citizens and demand payment or personal information by phone or email. This is a scam, and a several people have been victimized”

Here is additional information on things to remember, who to call, and what to do if a scammer contacts you:

  • Always be on guard against these crimes and be hesitant to provide any personal identifying information via text or over the phone. If someone contacts you and identifies him or herself as a deputy with Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (434) 972-4001 to confirm their identity.
  • A court will never ask for a credit/debit card number, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers over the phone for any purpose.
  • The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office personally serves jury summons to each citizen of Albemarle County. We will not call you because you missed jury duty. Most importantly, we never ask citizens to purchase pre-paid credit cards or debit cards.
  • A fine will never be imposed until after an individual has appeared in court and been given the opportunity to explain a failure to appear.
  • You can authenticate a call by contacting the Clerk’s Office of the Albemarle County Circuit Court at (434) 972-4083 to verify that you were not summoned for jury duty and that the scam call did not come from the court.

Report scams to the Albemarle County Police Department at (434) 296-5807.