Sheriff’s office warns against scammers targeting DeSoto County residents

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — The Better Business Bureau issued a scam alert about crooks targeting DeSoto County residents.

One man fell victim to this scam and was almost cheated out of his hard-earned money. Now, he's more cautious when it comes to answering the phone.

"Well I got a call from somebody that said they worked in DeSoto County with the sheriff's office and that they had a subpoena for me because I had missed jury duty," he said.

The scammer, who went by the fake name of Deputy Mark Richardson, told the victim if he didn't pay the fine, two deputies would be sent to his house to arrest him.

"I said, 'I'll tell you what. I've got them here. I'll just meet you at the sheriff`s office, and you can scratch them off,'" the man said.

Scammers told the victim to go to Walgreens and buy two gift cards loaded with $500 to pay any fines for his warrants. The BBB and the sheriff's office said if the victim actually had a warrant out for his arrest, this process would't happen.

"You may get a call from the sheriff's department, but they're going to ask you to come in and turn yourself in and process it," DeSoto County Lt. Mike Cowan said. "We do not collect money to clear up a warrant."

Cowan said it's not the first time he's heard of this type of scam.

"First I'll listen to the recording, and it'll say they have a warrant out for your arrest," Hernando resident Teresa Hall said. "And I'll go OK, well if you want me that bad, you know where I live. You can come and get me."

Cowan said a real law enforcement officer will never ask for money over the phone, and anyone who does is a fraud.

"These guys are scammers, and they're good at it," he said.

The BBB said if you get a call like this, hang up immediately and report the scam to the law enforcement agency whose name is being used.

The good news is that the DeSoto County man didn't lose any money in the process.

The DeSoto County Sheriff's Office said you can find out if you actually have an outstanding warrant by calling 662-469-8524.

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