Registered Sex Offender Targeted In Scam

We’re reported on numerous scams in the past, but this is the first time we’ve heard about a scam where a registered sex offender has been specifically targeted.  It happened Tuesday in Johnston County.

A man on the NC Sex Offender Registry said he received a call from a person claiming to be Sergeant Walker with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. The impersonator claimed he had failed to register his current address on the registry in Johnston County and had also failed to submit an updated photograph and fingerprints.  The man was told he had to submit a $4,500 fine to the “City of Smithfield” to avoid being arrested.  He was instructed to obtain pre-paid gift cards.

The victim obtained $4,500 in gift cards and provided the card numbers to the caller. The victim also contacted the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and notified them.  When a deputy arrived at the man’s home Tuesday night, the victim was still on the phone with the person who claimed to be Sgt. Walker.

The deputy got on the phone at which time the caller told him, “Hey deputy. Tell the child molester he just got scammed.” The man then hung up the phone.

Similar scams targeting sex offenders have been reported in recent weeks in South Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania.

In some of the scams, the caller claims a warrant has been issued for the offender’s arrest.  In each case, they are told they can only resolve the issue by providing credit card information or making a wire transfer.

Authorities say that any issues involving sex offender compliance must be resolved by the offender making direct contact with a law enforcement officer or by going to the agency handling sex offender registration in the county where they live.