CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Hampton Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a phone scam that is circulating in the area.
According to a news release, scammers are calling and falsely identifying themselves as working for the "Hampton Sheriff's Department" -- not the Hampton Sheriff's Office -- and telling the resident that they missed jury duty.
The caller then says that they have a warrant for the resident's arrest, which can be avoided if they pay using a gift card or some other hard-to-trace payment method.
The Sheriff's Office says this is absolutely a scam!
"This scam has been duplicated all across the country, so do not assume that your community will not be targeted," the Sheriff's Office said. The Chesapeake Sheriff's Office reported a very similar scam earlier in the month, for example.
Officials said city departments will never call to collect fines over the phone and if you get such a call, do not give out any information.
The Sheriff's Office, along with the Hampton Police Division, is investigating the scam calls.
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to avoid scams:
- Never send money via gift card or wire transfer to someone you have never met face-to-face.
- Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails.
- Don’t believe everything you see.
- Double-check that your online purchase is secure before checking out.
- Use extreme caution when dealing with anyone you’ve met online.
- Never share personally identifiable information.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately.
- Use secure and traceable transactions.
- Whenever possible, work with local businesses.
- Be cautious about what you share on social media.