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A police car's lights flash in downtown Athens, Georgia on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

A phone scammer is calling Athens residents impersonating a member of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office to pressure victims into sending money through a payment website, according to a Wednesday press release from the sheriff’s office.

The scammer suggests the victim has a bench warrant against them from Judge Eric Norris for failing to appear for a grand jury summons that was mailed to them in October. The scammer has the victim’s home address and sounds believable, according to the release.

The scammer insists the victim go to a payment site to pay to get “pre-warrants” removed from the system. The scammer may attempt to intimidate the victim by insisting on the seriousness of the situation and consequences of not paying, according to the release.

The scammer may also tell the victim they can pay the fine by purchasing a gift card or other prepaid card and reading the card number over the phone, according to the release.

Victims are asked to call the Athens-Clarke County Police Department if a phone scammer is attempting to collect money from them. Callers can remain anonymous when they report. The ACCPD can be reached at 706-613-3330.

Law enforcement officers will never ask for a payment card number, a wire transfer or bank routing number, and will never direct people to a payment site to resolve a “pre-warrant,” according to the release.

“While these callers may sound legitimate, I urge you to question the validity of the call,” Sheriff Ira Edwards said in the press release. “If in doubt, please call your local law enforcement. Don’t let the scammers swindle you from your hard-earned money.”

The caller impersonates sheriff’s office Capt. Bobby Toole, and may leave a voicemail telling the victim to call 706-607-9682, according to the release.