Pennsylvania State Police warn of new impersonation scam targeting teachers

GREENSBURG, Pa. — State police said these thieves are bold enough to call schools and classrooms.

They make people believe they are credible because they may know a few details about your life and where you live, but state police said that is exactly how they’re getting people to fall for this scam.

In a unique twist to a sheriff scam that is targeting the country, state police said scammers are pretending to be with the Westmoreland County Sheriff Department under a fictitious name of Sheriff Wayne Farley.

They claim you missed jury duty and owe money, but the scam is targeting a specific group of people.

“They’ve actually called schools and gotten patched directly to a school-teacher in her room, or his room, and said ‘hey you failed to show up for jury duty.’ They’re able to have a little bit of information about the teacher,” Trooper Steve Limani said.

State police said one of those schools targeted is Hempfield Area School District.

So far, troopers have had about a half a dozen potential victims.

The money on the Green Dot gift cards has never been turned over to the scammers.

In some cases, the cashiers behind the counter have stopped the scam from taking place.

“They’ve actually intervened while they’re on the phone like, ‘are you being told you need to buy these because you didn’t go to jury duty,’ and they’re like ‘yeah, I’m on the phone right now with the person’ and they’re like ‘yeah that’s a scam, hang up,’” Limani said.

State police put out a warning to local school districts to keep teachers on alert, but they believe the callers are operating as a much larger ring.

“The fact that it’s so specific, I think, lends itself it’s probably a more organized network of criminals that are conducting this and I would be hard pressed to believe they’re local,” Limani said.

State police said the giveaway is that the caller is asking for a gift card. No agency will ask you to pay for anything with a gift card.