PLATTSBURGH — A city resident lost $850 to a phone scam, and at least 11 others have received calls from people demanding money in what police say are four con scenarios.
The scam that has affected the most people so far involves a male caller who claims to be a lieutenant with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, said Plattsburgh City Police Lt. Scott Beebie.
Between March 20, when the victim who lost money reported the incident to police, and Tuesday, four residents had told City Police they had also received the phony calls, he said.
Emily Harris of Plattsburgh told the Press-Republican that she had just returned home from work on Monday when she realized she had missed a call on her home phone and called the number back.
A man identifying himself as “Lt. James” from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department told her there was a warrant for her arrest and that she would be taken into custody within the hour unless she paid $1,000 in restitution, Harris said.
“He said that it was for failing to appear for jury selection.”
However, Harris had not received a jury summons.
She stayed on the phone with the man for about 15 minutes, she said, but refused to give him any information.
He had called her by her husband’s last name, Smith, she said.
“I never took my husband’s last name, so I knew this guy had the wrong person.”
Harris provided the Press-Republican with the phony lieutenant’s phone number. When dialed, a message from Verizon Wireless says it has been either disconnected or changed.
Harris said she panicked during the phone conversation, thinking about what would happen to her if the situation were genuine.
“I kept thinking, oh my God, I’m going to be arrested, I’m going to lose my job, I’m going to lose my livelihood.”