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Man impersonating cops targets seniors, threatens them with jail time

If a police officer calls and asks for thousands of dollars in gift cards, you should be aware it’s a scam.

Schemes like these have been reported in Roswell recently and police are urging folks to not fall for this trick.

Officers say the scam has been going like this: A man calls a Roswell resident and says he is “Sergeant James Watson.” The man impersonating police then tells the person on the other line that there is a warrant for their arrest and if they do not send him money then they will be arrested.

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One woman was called on May 3 and went to Kroger and bought $2,150 worth of Green Dot cards and sent the man the codes for those cards, police said. The man on the phone then told her that if she appeared in court and spoke to a judge on May 15 that she would get all her money back.

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Another woman told Channel 2 Action News that she gave $2,000 worth of Green Dot cards to a man who also said she would go to jail if she didn’t pay up.

“He said we have a warrant for your arrest,” Betty Nation, a Roswell grandmother, told Channel 2. “... And he also knew my address. That was a red flag to me.”

Channel 2 reports that the scammer is doing his homework. He’s using the names of current or former Roswell police officers when he calls.

“Please know that we would never call you to solicit payment over the phone,” Roswell police officer Lisa Holland says to citizens in a Facebook video. “If you get one of these calls, simply hang up. If you are concerned that there is a warrant for your arrest, please call us directly.”

Police say the scammer has also been asking for iTunes gift cards.

RELATED: Cops: Man says ‘someone is trying to kill me’ before stealing Jeep

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MORE FROM WSBTV’s MIKE PETCHENIK...

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Channel 2's Mike Petchenik reports on the unusual way police say the suspect carried out his crime on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m. (www.accessatlanta.com)

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