scam alert The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert about a phone scam in which callers pretending to be Sheriff’s Office employees demand money.

The calls are being reported across the county, according to a news release. The callers claim to be Robert Jefferson or Richard Jefferson and say they work for the Sheriff's Office, the release said. The callers sound convincing and may seem to know a lot about their targets, but they are not calling on official business, the release said.

The scammers call from different phone numbers and alter the caller ID to make it look like the Sheriff's Office is calling, the release warned. They use different employee names and ranks and may leave an “urgent” callback request if no one answers the phone.

Victims are told they owe money, and the scammers demand that the debt be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card/gift card or wire transfer, the release said. If victims refuse to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license.

In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office issued these precautions:

  • ∙The Sheriff's Office will never call to demand immediate payment or call about a jury summons unless a summons has been mailed to the call recipient.
  •  The Sheriff's Office will never require a specific payment method — such as a prepaid debit card — for a fine.
  •  The Sheriff's Office will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or in person.
  •  The Sheriff's Office will never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to arrest someone for not paying a debt as demanded.

Anyone who believes he has received such scam calls should immediately contact the N.C. Attorney General’s Office at 877-5-NO-SCAM or 910-716-6000 or the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at 910-323-1500.

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