Phone scam victims in Gwinnett County are on the rise, with one Lilburn resident losing $9,000 to a fake ‘agent’ who claimed to be from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.
This startling incident is sparking urgent warnings from the Gwinnett County Police Department about an escalating trend in elaborate phone cons.
The victim, who has remained anonymous, was convinced by a caller posing as a law enforcement agent that he had a bench warrant out for his arrest.
Under threat of arrest, the scammer convinced the victim to pay $9,000 to expunge the warrant from his record. The victim complied, transferring the money via Bitcoin, only to find his entire cash savings depleted.
In a disturbing twist, the scammer continued to contact the man, seeking more funds. At one point, the caller even impersonated Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure However, no further transfers were made.
Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, programming their phones to display the caller ID of local law enforcement agencies. In this instance, the phone number for the Gwinnett County Police Department appeared on the victim’s caller ID, further legitimizing the con.
The Gwinnett County Police Department is reminding residents that officers will never request payment over the phone. Police are urging residents to be suspicious of unsolicited callers demanding immediate payment, particularly via cash, FedEx, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, gift cards, prepaid debit cards such as Green Dot, or wire transfer.
According to police department officials, anyone receiving such a call should request the caller’s identity and independently contact the supposed agency. They warn against calling the number displayed on caller ID and advise never to disclose personal or financial information over the phone or via email.
Residents who believe they may be victims of a phone scam are encouraged to report the crime to the Gwinnett County Police Department at their non-emergency number, 770.513.5700. For additional information, the department directs residents to the ‘Phone Scam Warning’ section on their website.