Jackson County seniors targeted by phone scams

Jackson County seniors targeted by phone scams
(Source: WAFF)

JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says they've taken numerous calls about two separate phone scams over the last few days. And the majority of them have been from senior citizens.

One scam involves a caller claiming you have missed jury duty and owe fines that you can take care of by purchasing a money card to bring to the courthouse. The scammers then ask for the number on the back of the card to get the money.

One man lost over $1,500 from that scam.

[Jackson County sheriff warns of jury duty scam]

The second scam preys specifically on senior citizens.

"We've been receiving phone calls about grandparents, that their grandchildren were in jail somewhere," said Jackson County Sheriff, Chuck Phillips.

84-year-old Robert Doyle said he was targeted by these scammers just this week. He got a call from a man claiming to be an attorney in New Jersey. He allegedly told Doyle his great-grandson had been arrested. Then he put a person on the phone claiming to be his great-grandson.

Doyle said he didn't buy any of the act.

"You know what, he said, 'Grandaddy,' but then, he said, 'What's up?' He had never said nothing like that to me. And that kind of reminds you of a hoodlum saying something like that," said Doyle.

Doyle said the "attorney" then came back on the line and asked him to withdraw $4,800, put it between two magazines and mail it to New Jersey in a brown paper sack. He wanted to talk to the person claiming to be his great-grandson. However, the attorney claimed the young boy had been taken downstairs to the jail.

Doyle then handed his phone over to his wife.

"My wife was sensing something was wrong. And I said, 'Would you talk to my wife and explain to her. Because we don't keep any secrets from each other,'" said Doyle.

A few minutes later, Doyle took the phone back and confronted the "attorney."

"I said, I just told him that I thought he was a con job. And I said, 'You're not the first one,' but I said, 'I hope they get you,'" said Doyle.

Doyle said he's had three other scammers call him. One involved social Security information and another was about a prize the caller said Doyle won from Walmart.

He almost fell for one of them by giving his credit card number out over the phone. He had a gut feeling something wasn't right, so he immediately called and cancelled the card.

This time, he didn't take a chance. He hung up the phone and called to check on his great-grandson.

A family member told him that he was fine and still in Scottsboro. Then he called the sheriff's office to report the scam.

He said he's tired of getting these calls. And he has a message to fellow seniors.

"Don't believe them. Listen to what they're saying," said Doyle.

Phillips has a strong message to all those that may fall victim to the phone scams circulating around the country.

"It's strange to go to a convenience store and purchase a money order to pay a fine that you could come to the courthouse and pay. That's how we do business," Phillips said.

"We don't do business over the phone. If you owe us money or you owe the court system money, you know we're going to come to your house and we're going to have a piece of paper in our hand. That tells you you need to do this or you need to pay this," he said.

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