Alert: Telephone scammers posing as Lowndes County officials

"These people are professionals. They do this for a living. They scam people out of their money every day all day long."

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said he received several calls and texts from people who picked up the phone with a fraudster on the other line.

“This individual was using the name of a fictitious deputy working for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. Even used a badge number he created that doesn’t make sense for our badge numbers. People in the community knew this and they knew there was something fishy about the calls,” said Hawkins.

But to make the allegations more believable, they spoofed local numbers to enhance the chances of you falling for the scam.

“These criminals that are actually doing this have ways to go out and clone a phone number. They’ll use someone’s legitimate number and put it into a system, place a call and when it shows up on your caller ID, it may show up Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, when they’re actually out of the country somewhere,” said Hawkins.

The scammers falsely accused victims of having a warrant issued by a retired Chancery judge, Dorothy Colom.

“They were even using the name of a judge who is no longer serving and has retired which was another red flag for us,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said this was not how his department works.

“We don’t ask for personal information over the phone and we’re not going to ask you to go and get a prepaid or preloaded debit card to pay the fine instead of coming to jail. That’s not how we operate. That is a scam and they’re trying to scam you out of your money,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said don’t be an easy target.

“These scammers were able to get personal information on some of the victims whether it be name, address, or things of that nature. Be mindful of what you put online. Don’t put your personal information on social media where somebody has easy access to it. A simple Google search can reveal what information is out there on you. So, if you are putting information online, just be mindful of what you’re revealing to the public that they can use that information against you,” said Hawkins.

For future reference…

“We’re not going to call and tell you you have a warrant. We’re going to come and pick you up,” said Hawkins.

If you’ve been a victim, please contact the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department directly.

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Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News