scam

MERCER – Mercer County officials warned residents Monday about two active phone scams to dupe people into handing over money to fake law enforcement.

District Attorney Pete Acker and Sheriff Roni Shilling warned county residents about the first scam, in which perpetrators claimed to be employees of the sheriff’s office demanding fines for supposedly missing jury duty.

Acker said two people received calls over the weekend after the sheriff’s office closed Friday.

The scammers enhanced the masquerade by duplicating the sheriff’s office phone number on caller ID. Acker said there are numerous examples of that deceptive technology employed for various purposes.

“We see on the robocalls, they adopt all kinds of numbers,” he said.

Acker said the scam targets were instructed to meet a deputy in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office to pay the fines. To deter them from uncovering the scam, the perpetrators told them the sheriff’s office was closed.

The district attorney said neither person lost any money to the scam.

“Although one had gone and gathered the money,” he said.

Acker said his office will conduct an investigation by interviewing the would-be victims for more information and reviewing video footage of the parking lot off East Butler Street.

“We’re pulling surveillance tapes,” he said.

Acker stressed that county officials do not initiate contact by phone with people accused of skipping jury duty.

Shilling said the sheriff’s office does not deal in any way with juror issues.

Acker said the second scam was an attempt to bilk a woman by claiming to be from the district attorney’s office wanting bail for her grandson.

But the woman knew her grandson’s whereabouts, so she did not turn over any money. Acker said she did contact the Mercer County Commissioners office Friday to report the call.

He pointed out his office would never call people directly to seek bail money.

Acker said said such scammers tend to send out multiple calls.

“They seem to come in quick succession,” Acker said.

He advised county residents to be wary of any calls seeking money from people claiming to be from law enforcement.

“People should not respond,” Acker said.

ANYONE targeted by an apparent scam should contact the district attorney’s office at 724-662-3800, ext. 2287.