DELAWARE, OHIO – Residents of Delaware County have become targets of an old yet recurring scam, according to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office (DSCO). Scammers, posing as lawyers, bail bondsmen, process servers, or even grandchildren of senior citizens, call their victims and ask them to send significant sums of money to bail out the grandchild who has been arrested or had a civil complaint filed against them.
DSCO, warns that the scammers often try to prove their legitimacy by sharing personal information such as the victim’s address and the names of the grandchildren. However, the fact that they ask for money is a clear red flag. “Regardless of the scam, the solution is always for the victim to send money, buy a green dot or gift card, etc. Whether their scam is ‘your grandchild is in jail’ or ‘you failed to appear for jury duty,’ the scammer hooks you emotionally and says it can all be fixed if you send money. That’s a scam,” Whited says. “We can’t speak for the private sector professionals, but it is the Clerk of Courts who would typically collects payments. “
Recently, the a report about a door hanger left at a residence in Schererville, which stated that the homeowner was contacted for official court business and needed to contact the phone number listed. Initially believed to be a scam, the door hanger turned out to be legitimate. After a warning was promptly posted on social media, and recanted to clarify the matter.
Whited advises residents to contact their local law enforcement agency to verify the legitimacy of any suspicious communication or visitation. “The majority of scammers don’t want to be seen, rather they operate somewhat invisibly via phone or computer. If someone is leaving something on your doorknob, it’s usually law enforcement, and it will include a legitimate phone number. But even if it is a legitimate private entity, we would recommend residents call their local law enforcement agency to verify the legitimacy,” Whited said/
If residents suspect they have been targeted by scammers, they can contact the DSCO, which will investigate the matter through several steps. “We (DSCO) would validate if it is legit through several steps, depending on the situation. We have access to several databases to easily verify if the story is true (such as if the grandchild is in jail). A dispatcher could call the number listed on the door hanger; and/or a deputy or detective could call or even visit the local private investigator to ensure it’s legit,” Whited says.
Residents should remain vigilant and cautious when receiving any unexpected communication or visitation, especially if it involves requests for money. They should contact their local law enforcement agency, or clerk of courts to verify the legitimacy of the communication, or of court fines, and not hesitate to report any suspected scams.