Only a week after misleading posts about chemical masks in Kalamazoo, scammers are out looking for money from Branch County residents. Michigan State Police are warning of another potential scam, so far only reported in Barry County. According to a press release from Michigan State Police on Monday, Branch county residents are receiving a call from a phone number that appears to be local. The caller claims to be a deputy with the Branch County Sheriff’s Department and claims that you have missed jury duty recently.

The scam continues with the information that a warrant has been issued for your arrest and you need to pay $1800 to avoid going to jail. The suspects went as far as to make a call back recording sound official when potential victims call back the given number, but Michigan State Police are warning that it is not.

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“Please know that THIS IN FACT A SCAM.” Although the number given is a legitimate number, it is in no way associated with the Sheriff’s Department or the Branch County courthouse. Residents are urged to NOT pay any money to anyone regarding these phone calls.

Just over a week ago, a disinformation campaign in Kalamazoo was claiming that local government officials were going door to door, handing out masks that were chemically laced to make wearers pass out. Kalamazoo Police investigated the matter and found no evidence to the claim. Nor could anyone find the original, online poster.

For those who believe they are being targeted by the more recent, jury duty, phone scam, please document the suspect's phone number and any names the caller uses. These calls can be reported to the FBI’s website at www.ic3.gov.

If you have paid money to these suspects, please contact the Branch County Sheriff’s Department or the Michigan State Police.

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