Once again, scammers are trying to take advantage of citizens in Montgomery County. Local Circuit Clerk Tiffany McCord stated her office has received about thirty complaints from residents who received a “civil citation” by email. The email stated in the “citation” that $711 was owed to the county. The “citations” are fake and intended to scam you out of money.
The county nor other agencies like the IRS will email you a bill. Any bill from a government agency will be mailed to you. Further, most of the time you will be expecting a bill since you are aware of the obligation to pay it. If you were a witness (as in this case to an accident) you will be contacted well in advance by parties of the case. You may even give a deposition while you are under oath in advance to any hearing.
A deposition is taken orally, with an attorney asking questions and the deponent (the individual being questioned) answering while a court reporter or tape recorder (or sometimes both) recording the testimony. Deposition testimony is generally taken under oath, and the court reporter and the deponent often sign affidavits attesting to the accuracy of the subsequent printed transcript. Ideally, depositions are taken while the events of the accident are fresh in the mind of the witness.
This particular scam states that you were a witness to an accident and that you failed to appear at the hearing on the matter. The fine for failing to appear is $711 owed to the county. The “civil citation” appears to be legitimate since it uses resident’s actual addresses, birth dates and social security numbers. These details are accessible on the dark web.
The “civil citation” also has the signature of “Judge Steven Reed, Judge, Superior Court.” Most residents have heard of Judge Reed—he’s our Probate Judge. Montgomery County DOES NOT have a “Superior Court” (maybe there’s a Superior Court on the television show “Law & Order” that makes us feel like we have one too). Even the codes listed on the citation are not Alabama codes but most residents would not know that information which helps the scammers make it appear official.
Further, the “citation” has a receptionist service phone number on the notice to call with questions. The receptionist service is located in Arizona according to county officials. Finally, the notice listed an officer’s name of Lt. Allen Davis which is fake as well. Scammers are very sophisticated and most people who receive the “citation” are honest people and want to do the right thing.
If you receive this “civil citation,” you are encouraged to report it to the Montgomery County Circuit Clerk’s office at (334) 832-1260. Officials are investigating the matter and hope to find the parties responsible.