Connie Sperandeo took to social media this week to warn others of a scam she was unfortunately targeted by – one in which people are posing as officers of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Sperandeo, who lives in Luling, said it all started on Friday when she missed a phone call. A voicemail identified the caller as Sgt. Jake Long, who said Sperandeo needed to call him back as soon as possible.
When she called, the person on the other end of the phone told Sperandeo that she had missed jury duty the prior day and that she had two options – she could either turn herself in and sit in jail for 72 hours or do a Zoom call with the judge.
“First of all, I argued with the man because I hadn’t received a jury duty summons and he blamed the mail service,” she said. “He said I had two citations for missing jury duty … one was $500 and the other was $1,500 plus court costs plus Zoom fees.”
In an interview with the Herald Guide, Sperandeo said there was no foreign accent detected by the men she spoke to, and that the caller ID on her phone indicted it was a call from St. Charles Parish.
“I reluctantly opted for the Zoom call and that’s where it happened,” she said. “He transferred me to Captain Jeremy Daniels, who said he needed my banking information so he could set up the Zoom call with the clerk of court’s office. I went back and forth with him for a while because I couldn’t wrap my head around why I needed to provide my banking info. for something I was never notified for. I even told him this wasn’t a legit call, so he hung up and called right back. That showed St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.”
Sperandeo said she eventually hung up the call after refusing to give the caller her banking information.
“He called right back and I didn’t answer,” she said. “Neither have called me back.”
Sperandeo said she contacted the SCSO to report the call.
“An officer came out to my house and called her supervisor with all the information,” Sperandeo said. “My husband called both numbers and both had voicemails saying they were with the sheriff’s office and to leave a message. One was from Luling and the other was from Thibodaux.”
Sperandeo said she feels relieved that the ordeal is over, but thankful that there were enough red flags that made her keep asking questions.
“I felt I should report it since these two guys gave me their names and one gave a badge number,” she said, adding that she hopes her story reaches enough people so that no one falls victim and gives their banking information.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne confirmed that Sperandeo is not the only local resident to be targeted in the scam.
“The supervisors’ names being used are not employees of the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “Employees of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office would not contact individuals by telephone regarding outstanding fines and request any type of banking information or immediate payment over the telephone.”
The SCSO Bonds and Fines Division does accept payment for fees over the telephone and/or online, Champagne said, and added that citizens who wish to see if they owe any fines can call 985- 783-6237 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Any citizens outside of St. Charles Parish who believe they are a victim of this phone scam should contact their local law enforcement agency to file a complaint, and citizens of St. Charles Parish should contact 985-783-6807.