Putnam County deputies investigating complaints of arrest warrant scam

(Putnam County Sheriff's Office)

PALATKA, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is investigating complaints from people who said they received a phone call from a man claiming to be a deputy, asking people to pay hundreds of dollars to avoid arrest.

Investigators told News4Jax the calls are part of a scam that was designed to prey on unsuspecting people who thought they were in trouble with the law for failing to show up in court.

Investigators said that when the scammer called, he used a different name and title. For example, in one case, the caller identified himself as Sgt. Charlie Green of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. He also identified himself as a Capt. Knotts.

According to an incident report, a woman in her 60s, identified as a victim, was called by the scammer and told there was a warrant for her arrest because she failed to appear in court. She was told she needed to pay $1,800 to get out of the warrant and that the payment system was down, so, she needed to pay with a gift card.

The victim told investigators that it sounded so real that she went to both a Dollar General Store and a Circle K store in Palatka, where she purchased Green Dot MoneyPack cards valued at $360 each. She said she was instructed to send the gift cards and receipts to the Clerk of Courts and that she was told not to put a postage stamp on the envelope but to simply drop the envelope containing $1,800 worth of gift cards in a drop box at a mail store.

Another woman in her 60s also fell for the scam. Investigators said she was swindled out of $2,800.

Investigators told News4Jax they have received multiple complaints over the weekend from people who said it sounded so real that the scammer even went as far as to instruct them to meet him at the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said one woman who was contacted by the scammer knew something wasn’t right and not only kept the scammer on the line for an extended period, she even went as far as to record the conversation.

This kind of scam is nothing new. Investigators are reminding people that no law enforcement agency will ever call to set up payment arrangement to get out of a warrant.

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