The Green Dot Scam hit McPherson this morning, resulting in several reports coming into McPherson County's 911 of someone calling local residents and impersonating a police officer. The scammer then claims that the victim owes overdue court fees and threatens the victim with jail time if the fees are not immediately paid.
“Our first call came in at 9:25 this morning,” said McPherson County 911's Jill Becker. “The person said that they had been contacted by a Sgt. Miller with the police department and that “Sgt. Miller” had said there were court fees that were due …. and if money weren't transferred over right away that there would be a warrant issued and that we would send a deputy out to arrest this person.”
Becker went on to explain that 911's normal procedure with similar scams, so long as the victim did not give out any financial information, is to simply log the information from the 911 call. But since this particular person impersonated a police officer they wanted to make sure and involve the local police department. After making contact with one of the victims, a local police officer expressed concern over how legitimate the caller sounded.
“They're giving court names, they're giving attorney names, they're giving judge names, they're giving case numbers, they're giving fees and charges,” explained Becker. “They kind of have their ducks in a row on this one so we're very concerned, because it does sound so legitimate, that one of our citizens is going to fall for this.”
Apparently, Verizon is familiar with this particular scammer who they said is using technology that allows him to put in whatever phone number he wants, so to the victim it looks like he is receiving a local call.
“According to Verizon, they know about this scam. It's not community specific. This is a nationwide scam. They call it the 'Green Dot Scam,' and basically they want funds transferred right away.”
Becker went on to compare it to the recent BPU scam in which residents were being called after hours and told their utilities would be shut off right away if payment weren't made immediately.
“It's kind of up to our citizens to realize that this is probably a scam. It's kind of like the BPU thing that's going around,” said Becker. “If people just do their footwork and their research and make that phone call …. instead of just running out and doing what the person tells them to do, then they're fine.”
If someone does receive one of these calls it's okay to notify local authorities, but it's not actually necessary unless money has been exchanged.