A phone scammer targeting Jeffco residents is attempting to trick victims into buying retail gift cards to avoid fines from supposedly missing a jury-duty summons.
The scam artist first targeted Jeffco residents starting Sept. 2 and 3. Throughout September, the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office received more than 10 reports from citizens who received calls from a man pretending to be a major with the department. The man introduced himself as “Maj. Tom Wilson” and told the victims they had missed jury duty and were going to be arrested.
The suspect told the victims they could avoid going to jail if they would go to Walmart or Walgreens and buy $1,000 “Green Dot MoneyPak” cards. The cards would supposedly cover the fines for failing to appear for jury duty. The suspect instructed the victims to buy the cards, scratch off the numbers on the back, and provide those numbers to the suspect. Anyone the cardholder shares the number with has instant access to the cash.
On Oct. 25, the suspect persuaded a victim to buy $6,000 worth of the cards before she suspected that it was a scam.
In a separate incident on Oct. 26, the suspect insisted on staying on the phone with a victim as he went to buy the cards. While on the way to the store, the victim was pulled over by law enforcement. A Jeffco deputy got on the phone with the suspect, and he still insisted he was a sheriff's officer. The suspect told the deputy that if he didn't let the victim continue to the store, he would have the deputy disciplined.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reloadable debit cards that can be used to pay phone, cable or credit card bills. They're typically for people who don't have bank accounts. Scammers like them because they're more convenient than a money wire, but just as untraceable.
The Sheriff’s Office is reminding the public that it will never call a citizen and ask for a payment of any kind.
Residents of unincorporated Jeffco who have received this scam call should call 303-271-0211 to file a report. Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call the sheriff’s tip line at 303-271-5612.