Cocoa, FL - A Brevard County woman who was bamboozled out of two grand had a go-to line for a weird call. "Wrong number, not interested!" she would say, then click, hang up. But she thought this was different and believed the caller to be one of the good guys.
"I don’t want anybody else going through what I went through. It was awful. I’m still dealing with the ghosts from it," the victim said.
Her story begins when the man on the line said he was with the Brevard Sheriff’s Office, saying his name was "Deputy Freeman." She listened carefully.
"He said I did not make an August jury duty summons, so there was a bench warrant out for my arrest."
She thought the jury duty letter might have gotten lost in the mail. The deputy told her if she didn’t take care of this and pay the fine right away if she got pulled over for speeding or anything else, she would be arrested on the spot.
"Or I could pay the fine which was $2,000 dollars."
Wanting to check the deputy’s credentials, she called the Sheriff's Office and they confirmed indeed there is a Deputy Freeman on staff. Then she got back on the phone with him. He told her she could stay out of trouble if she did what he said.
"He played on that fear of a good person having a record," the victim said.
Things get frantic and frazzled at this point. The victim drove to a grocery store and ran in for a cash card. Then the deputy told her, "read me the numbers from the back," so she did. Then she was put on hold.
"What he was doing, was clearing those cards out while I was waiting," the victim later learned.
Deputy Tod Goodyear, the spokesman for the Brevard Sheriff's Office, said this scam has been happening for a few months, and the suspects are extremely convincing.
"But there is no law enforcement agency that is going to call you on the phone and threaten to arrest you unless you pay a certain amount of money on a gift card," Goodyear said.
"If you miss a court appearance or a jury summons you’re not getting hauled off to jail," the victim told FOX 35 News -- something she wishes she had known before that scam call.
Her message is: don’t let threats and intimidation cloud commonsense.
"I want everyone to know, sure there were red-flags, but every time I tried to rebel, or said, 'I'm being scammed here,' he would reassure me. He would tell me, 'It's all going to be okay,' and this what I needed to do."