Store clerk saves woman from losing $900 in jury duty scheme, says local sheriff’s office

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 18:37:58-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Newport News Sheriff's Office says a quick-thinking Rite Aid employee saved a woman from giving $900 to scammers.

According to the Sheriff's office the woman was contacted by a number that read Newport News Sheriff's Office Thursday afternoon.

The caller reportedly told her she missed jury duty and would be arrested if she didn't immediately send $900 using a Green Dot prepaid debit card.

Staff at the Rite Aid near the intersection of Warwick and Denbigh Boulevards told News 3 the woman was still on the phone when she arrived at the store and seemed upset.

The manager says the situation raised red flags so when the woman tried to buy a Green Dot card they contacted the Newport News Sheriff's Office on a store phone and were told it was a scheme to get money.

"That is the best defense against any type of scam. Awareness and knowledge. If something doesn't sound right, you check it out," said Maj. David Hughes with the Newport News Sheriff's Office.

The woman never gave the money, the Sheriff's office says, adding it will never call or threaten someone for missing jury duty.

A Hampton man wasn't so lucky.

Kevin Russell says he was tricked into giving someone $1,000 in a similar fashion earlier this month. The caller, who claimed to be from the Hampton Sheriff's Office, claimed Russell had missed jury duty and had a warrant for his arrest.

"He gave me the two docket numbers; one for contempt of court and one for failure to appear and that's when I was like 'this is legit'," said Russell.

Russell says he fell for the scheme. He doesn't want others to do the same.

"Be careful when somebody calls your house. Definitely ask questions," he said.

The Newport News Sheriff's Office says any correspondence for jury duty is done through mail.