Small spike in telephone scams, police warn

Small spike in telephone scams, police warn

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - There is a small spike in telephone scams attempting to defraud people of money, according to Hoover Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

In one day, police received nearly a dozen complaints about scam telephone calls from a phone number with a "205" area code.

"They sound official," said Hoover Police Officer Brian Hale.  "It's not somebody that has an accent, it's not a robo-call, it's somebody that states clearly and firmly that they are with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and automatically that's an attention getter and we understand that," he said.

The caller warns of missed jury duty and advises there's a warrant out for arrest unless money is paid over the phone immediately.

"No legitimate business, whether a credit card company or bank, nobody does business that way," Hale explained.  "If you're receiving the phone call from someone who says they are law enforcement, a bank, a credit card company, anybody, don't trust that is what the situation is, you hang up and call the bank, or credit card company, or police and ask 'Do I have a warrant out for my arrest or is this legitimate?'"

"These telephone calls have been perpetrated on citizens here in Alabama for a number of years and in fact across the country," said David Smitherman, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama.  "Our best advice is to hang up. You do not want to engage with the people on the telephone. They are out to get your money and get in your wallet."

Smitherman also warns about phony calls from the IRS or fake charities.

e to be on the lookout for these scams is after we've had a disaster – a hurricane, a tornado, a mass shooting that we've had in various parts of the country," he said.

"The same rules apply. If they are calling you on the telephone, they want you to give them the money right away. If they want your money today, they'll want it tomorrow, if it's a legitimate charity," Smitherman explained.

The BBB maintains a searchable website for scams perpetrated across the country. It can be found at

Hale invites people with concerns about telephone scams to call the Hoover police on the non-emergency number, (205) 822-5300.

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