Tue. May 21st, 2024

Harrison county phone call scam beware

A sheriff's badge with a scam alert sign, emphasizing the official warning against phone scams.A sheriff's badge with a scam alert sign, emphasizing the official warning against phone scams.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office is alerting the public about a surge in telephone scams in the region. Scammers are impersonating the Sheriff’s Office, demanding thousands of dollars from victims.

A Gulfport woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, fell prey to a scam claiming she had an outstanding arrest warrant. The scammers knew her personal details and convinced her she had missed a court hearing and needed to pay up to $14,000 to avoid arrest.

In her panic, she informed her employer she had to leave work, but her boss intervened and contacted the Harrison County Judge, who confirmed there were no charges against her. Realizing it was a scam when the caller insisted she stay on the line, she recognized she was being targeted for a money scam.

This incident is one of several reported. Sheriff Matt Haley revealed that last week, two victims were tricked into believing they owed large sums and ended up paying up to $28,000 at the Biloxi Courthouse.

The department recently arrested 24-year-old Sharontay Rice of Savannah, Georgia, for involvement in similar scams, charging her with two felony counts of false pretense.

A worried woman on the phone, looking stressed and holding a piece of paper that reads 'Court Hearing Notice'. In the background, a shadowy figure rep
A worried woman on the phone, looking stressed and holding a piece of paper that reads ‘Court Hearing Notice’. In the background, a shadowy figure rep

Sheriff Haley emphasized that the Sheriff’s Office never contacts individuals by phone to demand money for warrants and urged residents to report any such calls immediately. The investigation is ongoing, and efforts are being made to identify more suspects and ensure victims are reimbursed. Rice is currently detained in the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, awaiting her initial court appearance.

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