Education

Fake deputy calling Kentucky schools targeting teachers. Attorney General issues alert.

How scammers tell you to pay

By learning how scammers ask you to pay, find out how to spot – and stop – scams.
Up Next
By learning how scammers ask you to pay, find out how to spot – and stop – scams.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear on Wednesday issued an alert warning of a new scam targeting Kentucky school systems and teachers following reports from teachers in Franklin, Jefferson and Whitley counties

Beshear said his office has recently received multiple reports of a “Deputy Hart” calling schools asking to speak with a specific teacher who allegedly has an outstanding warrant or missed jury duty, a news release said.

School officials have been threatened with “obstruction charges” if the scammer is not given information or allowed to speak with the teacher. Once on the phone with the victim, the scammer requests payment via gift cards to resolve the legal matter and avoid arrest.

“While this scam is similar to the widespread jury duty scam, now there is a troubling new twist that indicates scammers are targeting teachers through social media,” Beshear said in a statement. “It is despicable that at a time when our teachers are focused on returning to their classrooms to educate children they are being targeted by scammers. I want to make sure every teacher is aware of this scam and takes steps to protect their information online.”

Reports indicate that the scam call is spoofed appearing to be from a local area code and one victim said the scammer pressured her to purchase $2,500 in gift cards, but ultimately she did not fall victim.

Beshear’s office has been in contact with each school district, local officials and the Department of Education and is asking teachers and school district employees to follow these tips to avoid falling victim to the scam:

Change privacy settings: Be aware that con artists may use the information that is publicly available on social media against you. Consider adjusting your privacy settings to protect key information about you and your family.

Verify the call: A scammer may call from a spoofed phone number and pretend to have information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials, courthouse addresses and phone numbers. Never trust the caller and always verify information independently before making a payment.

Never pay over the phone using gift cards or reloadable credit cards: Scammers typically use gift cards and reloadable cards as their preferred method of payment because they are almost impossible to track and recover. Know that legitimate local authorities will not ask you to pay using these methods.

Since the beginning of 2019, the office has already received 23 reports of jury duty and warrant scams in Breckinridge, Campbell, Fayette, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, Kenton, Ohio, Owen and Shelby counties, with losses totaling nearly $2,000.

To report a scam contact the Office of the Attorney General at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.

Kentuckians are urged to stay up to date on new and trending scams by signing up for Scam Alerts. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

  Comments