A spokesman for the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Department says someone pretending to be a law enforcement officer has been calling people up and demanding money for bogus fines.

Dick Blust says the caller has been telling people they have an arrest warrant out for missing jury duty. The swindlers tell people they need to go to a convenience store and purchase a green dot debit card. They are told to then call back and pay anywhere between $500 and $1,500 to supposedly avoid being arrested.

Sheriff Mike Lowell says the callers sound very convincing, often using the name of at least one former deputy sheriff (who is not part of the scam). They will often know a few details about their intended victim and will provide phony case numbers and other details that sound believable.

The scam is carried out so well that several Sweetwater County residents have already fallen for it. The sheriff's department issued a special bulletin about the scam on Wednesday afternoon.

The sheriff says there are a few red flags with this scam that ought to give it away as bogus. First of all, law enforcement agencies don't call people up and demand payment for fines, missed jury duty, overdue traffic tickets, etc. He says if you get such a call, you should note the number that shows up on your caller ID, as well as the agency the caller claims to represent. You can then check with the organization the caller claims to be with.

But Lowell says the most important thing to remember is that you should never give out personal or financial information to anyone you don't know.

The sheriff is also asking people to let seniors know about the scam, as they tend to be especially targeted by the jury duty scam. He says more information about this and other scams is available at an FBI website.

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