Police issue scam alert following recent incidents

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — A spate of recent scams in the city of Clemson have led the Clemson Police Department to issue a scam alert in an effort to prevent others, both inside the city and in surrounding areas, from becoming victims.

Police Chief Jimmy Dixon said last Wednesday four incidents occurred between Jan. 13-19 in which an unknown suspect or suspects called elderly victims and scammed them out of large quantities of money.

Of the four incidents, two were completed and reports filed, one was not completed and the victim declined a report, and the other was sent to another local agency.

“This has been occurring within the city limits of Clemson, and I am sure it very well may be occurring elsewhere,” Dixon said.

The chief said that the suspect or suspects are calling elderly victims, claiming to be a family member, and then saying they have been arrested for a serious offense. A second suspect then claims to be a law enforcement officer explaining fraudulent circumstances that led to the arrest and saying if the victim pays an amount of money Dixon said is usually in the thousands of dollars, their loved ones will be released.

Dixon said the victim is then directed to go to the local supermarket and get prepaid gift cards in a specific amount and then instructed to call back.

In cases that were completed, the chief said the victims did as directed but later, after transferring the money to the suspects by phone, discovered that their loved ones were fine and never incarcerated.

As a result, Dixon said there are several things to remember: If receiving a phone call advising that a loved one is in jail, stay calm since the suspects are preying on emotions and know their scam works best when the victim or victims are panicking. Also, please verify the status of a loved one by calling the family member directly or calling other family who would have knowledge of their whereabouts and directly calling the law enforcement agency where the family member is allegedly being held.

Dixon added it is important to remember law enforcement agencies do not handle bond arrangements themselves, but that it occurs through a court process. The chief added that neither the court nor law enforcement would ever direct a person to obtain gift cards to pay a bond.

Should you be targeted for this scam, police say not to send any money and contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. | (864) 973-6687

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