WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's a call that appears to be from law enforcement and it's costing Triangle residents hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It tricked a Morrisville woman into sending $900.00 to the scammer, and she's sharing her story in hopes of preventing others from falling for the scam.
The victim of the scam, Shannon Flynn said to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "As I watch you all the time and just think, it can't happen to you because you know it's not gonna happen to you, and it happened really good."
It all started when Flynn got a call from a man claiming to be Barry Jones with the Wake County Sheriff's Department.
"That there was a bench warrant and a contempt of court for my arrest because I did not show up for a federal case," Flynn said the caller stated. It did get her attention. She adds, "In the past, I actually have been a key witness for a case as I'm a pediatric occupational therapist so to me it wasn't far-fetched that I was called and I just might have missed something."
The caller demanded money to take care of the bench warrant and contempt of court. "I would have to pay $4000 in each, and I was like, I don't have $4000," Flynn said she told the caller. Flynn says the caller kept her on the phone for more than an hour threatening jail time if she didn't pay. She adds, "Finally, I was like, I have $900 right now. He's like, well, that's fine."
As Flynn was still on the phone with the caller, through Venmo Flynn sent the $900 and then he directed her to drive to the Wake County Sheriff's office to show proof of payment to take care of the bench warrant. As soon as she walked into the sheriff's department and talked with a deputy, she said the deputy at the front desk told me, "It was a scam. You're not the first, and they actually said $900 really was not a lot"
Troubleshooter Diane Wilson talked with the actual Major Barry Jones who the scammer was impersonating as he does work at the Wake County Sheriff's Department. Wilson played him the scam voicemail Flynn got. After listening he said, "Doesn't sound like me. This started back in 2015, I was a Sgt. over the warrant division."
It's now seven years later and scammers are still using his name to try and trick people into paying money. He adds, "Even though I'm not over the warrant unit anymore, I'm not a Sgt. anymore, but they are still using my name."
Even if the caller ID states law enforcement is calling, Major Jones says you can't always believe that. He adds, "The tricky thing about phone numbers is there is technology now that you can make a phone number look like a different phone number to call from."
Flynn says she was aware of the scam, but just let her guard down this one time as the scammer hit keywords that made her believe it was real. She adds, "That man just scared me, and my children are my life, so I didn't want anything to happen to me. So I was doing whatever I could to protect myself, which in theory, did not protect me at all."
No matter how threatening the phone calls are, don't panic, and the minute the caller asks for money or asks for access to your computer, it's a big red flag it's a scam. If you have any doubt, hang up the phone and look at the number the law enforcement yourself and then call to see if you need to take any action.
If you do fall victim to this scam, call your bank right away to try and stop payments to the scammers. In some cases it does work. Flynn called her bank right away, and it took some time, but she eventually got her $900.00 back. If the caller asks for payment via gift cards, 100% it's a scam.
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