Citizens warned of scam offering to suspend warrant in exchange for payment

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is warning citizens to beware of a telephone scam in which the caller offers individuals a chance to have a bench warrant recalled in return for payment.

According to NCSO Investigator Jeff Alexander, several complaints have been received concerning this financial scam.

"The nature of the scam is an unknown caller is contacting numbers from the telephone directory and stating that he is from the Newton County Sheriff's Office. The caller has used names of former and/or current Sheriff's Office employees during the call," he said.

Alexander said the person says that the reason for the call is that a bench warrant has been issued for the recipient of the call due to a missed traffic court date. The offense is usually speeding and the caller alleges the offense was caught on a traffic camera.

Alexander said the caller then states that the warrant will be recalled if a payment is made over the telephone and then directs the victim to purchase a Green Dot Money Pak Pre-Paid card at a local Walgreen's, Walmart or other store for a certain dollar amount.

The victim is also given a court date in the near future in a courtroom at the Newton County Judicial Center.

"During the call the caller uses names of local judges in Newton County," Alexander said.

The NCSO is warning that this type of call is a scam and the Sheriff's Office does not collect traffic fines over the telephone. If a such a call is received, victims are asked to hang up and then call 911 and report the incident.