MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery residents are being warned of a new scam making its way across the River Region that's using the office of a circuit court judge to bilk them out of money.
District Attorney Daryl Bailey and Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick are sounding the alarm over the scam phone calls.
According to Hardwick, the scam involves someone calling claiming to be him or from his office. The judge said he was notified Wednesday by the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office that someone used his name to target a client's family members.
The scammer allegedly said he would release the family's relative from jail if they paid an undisclosed amount of money. The family paid the amount, which was all of their savings, according to Bailey.
"What really troubled me is that people in the community think that the court system operates that way," said Judge Hardwick, who added that any business he has with anyone will take place in the courtroom. No judge will call anyone over the phone.
"All of these scams usually have one thing in common and that is a GreenDt card," the district attorney stated. Hardwick confirmed the court system does not use GreenDot cards for anything.
"I've contacted the district attorney to alert him that I think this is something that needs to be investigated and the perpetrators feel the full weight of the law," Hardwick said.
Bailey confirmed that these types of scams are becoming an epidemic. He also said there is a simple way to avoid being scammed.
"I would tell citizens that at any time you have someone call you and asking you to go get a GreenDot card, that's the number one sign that you're being scammed."
The DA also recommended simply hanging up the phone if you receive a call from anyone you do not know.