Crime & Public Safety

Sheriff's Office warns of phone scams


The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a new phone scam in which callers tell victims to pay a fine for running a red light.

The perpetrators have convinced several Beaufort County residents to send them hundreds or thousands of dollars through the purchase of GreenDot cards, according to reports on the incidents. Some victims have also been asked for Social Security numbers, bank account information or other data that could be used for identity theft, a news release said.

The anonymity of these transactions make them extremely difficult to track, according to the release. There is little to no chance of recovering the money once it is transferred.

The scam is the latest tactic callers are using to trick victims into paying, according to the release. Dozens of people have received calls in which the suspect identifies himself as Lt. Clark of the Sheriff's Office and claims the subject has missed a court date or jury duty.

The subject is then given a choice -- immediately pay a fine or be arrested.

The Sheriff's Office will never solicit financial information or request payment for any fine over the phone, according to the release.

Anyone who thinks they are being scammed should refuse to provide personal or financial information.

To report any incidents, contact Sgt. Prince Norton at 843-255-3411, Cpl. Meredith Florencio at 843-255-3419, or the Beaufort County Dispatch Center at 843-524-2777.