News 12 at 6 o'clock / Augusta 6, 2013
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW)
The threat of going to jail is enough to convince a lot of us to respond out of fear.
But Sherry Hale was able to keep a level head which kept her from being victimized. "My heart was racing I was really nervous," says Hale who could not believe her ears. "I've never driven that fast ever so that cant be," says Hale.
A warrant for her arrest for doing twenty miles over the speed limit? Hale says the caller claimed to be a lieutenant with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department and if she did not pay the $300 fine right away she would be going to jail. "From the way he spoke I just got the feeling that he may have been a police officer before," says Hale.
Despite the convincing voice, Hale says she smelled a rat. "I'm gonna tell these people I'm not paying it. I guess somebody could be at my door and arrest me," says Hale.
Her instincts served her well. Richmond County Lieutenant Michael McDaniel says a speeding ticket scam may be targeting folks in the area. "We still do tickets the old fashioned way." By mail says McDaniel.
He says the scam is designed to get your credit card information. "Once they get that credit card number its given to someone in Jpay.com," says McDaniel.
Jpay.com is a website that allows inmates to set up accounts. "It's to get through and get it to someone whose incarcerated," says McDaniel. He says he has investigated several cases in which credit card information obtained from ticket scam victims were funneled through Jpay.com to make purchases and even conduct illegal activity.
McDaniel says if you get a call like Hale did, question it. "I would call that department and check the validity of that," says McDaniel. Meanwhile, Hale has some advice for others. "It's happening in this area and look out."
News 12 called the number from caller id, and as soon as we identified ourselves, the person on the other end hung up.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Department tells us the caller identifies himself as a Lieutenant Anthony Johnson. The voice messaging says the same name. They confirmed that they are investigating it as a scam.