Court warns against phone scam impersonating clerk's office

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The U.S. District Court of Western Tennessee is sending out an important warning about a scam that could cost you a lot.

The Clerk's Office for the U.S. District Court in Memphis is telling the community to not fall victim to a phone scam targeting innocent people.

"The call is purported to be from my office. It's not," Tom Gould, clerk of the court said.

He also said the scammers behind this scam use a particular technique known as spoofing.

"The caller basically puts my number up on the caller ID, instead of whatever number they're calling from," Gould said.

Gould explained that the caller demands the victim send money to the clerk's office, claiming they've violated some type of fictitious law.

The victim is then threatened by the caller who says if the victim doesn't send money, they could be thrown in jail.

The most recent target was an immigrant citizen who led to the discovery of the scam.

"They said if he did not send $1,000 into the court, that he would be deported and he was so scared about it. Rather than wire anything, he actually came to our office with money and wanted to know how he would pay and that's how we actually found out about this occurring," Gould said.

He said others received calls like this, though he's unsure how many.

"We now know it's probably been running for the better part of two weeks," Gould said.

He says neither his office nor any federal or state office, would ever demand money over the phone.

Gould said if you receive a call like this, the best thing to do is to call or visit that office in person because it's better to be safe than sorry.

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