Woman falls victim to jury duty scheme - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Woman falls victim to jury duty scheme


Over the weekend, a Ridgeland woman was nearly swindled out of hundreds of dollars by a person she thought was a Madison County deputy. Now, her experience is shedding light on a scheme that's once again making its way around the metro.

"The first thing I thought was that something has happened to my children," said Sandy Baas. "They've had a wreck or something."

This unexpected start to Sandy Baas' Saturday began with a call from a man who said he was a Madison County deputy, telling her she had ignored a jury summons sent to her home months ago.

The man on the phone, calling himself Deputy Deemer, said a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

"Each time, you know, when they started off, it was believable. 'We want you to come to the sheriff's office and fill out some paperwork to take care of this,'" Baas said. "It wasn't until later that he asked for money, and later still, that he directed me to that particular gas station."

The suspect told her to go to the Kangaroo gas station on Old Canton Road in Ridgeland and put $395 on a prepaid card. 

However, Baas did not give the suspect the card information; instead, she called the police.

"Anytime someone is asking you for one of these prepaid cards, whether they say they're with the IRS or they're saying they're with Social Security, law enforcement, that should raise a flag," said John O'Hara with the Better Business Bureau Serving Mississippi.

O'Hara said he's seen variations of this same scheme hit the metro every year.

Ridgeland Lt. John Neal said four people have fallen victim already in Ridgeland.

In addition, Madison County Sheriff's Department spokesman Heath Hall said the department has already turned over several scam cases to Attorney General Jim Hood for further investigation.

"Never will the Madison County Sheriff's Department ever call and ask anybody for money, period," Hall said.

O'Hara thinks there are probably more cases out there as well.

"How many people did [the suspect] call? How many people just hung up, or how many people did they not get in touch with? How many people just paid and moved on their very way and won't realize til they see this broadcast that they might have been scammed?" asked O'Hara.

Lt. Neal said they identified an out-of-state suspect in similar scams last year and issued outstanding warrants for that person, but don't know if that's connected to these cases.

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