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Process server recently accused Jerauld County official of being impostor

WESSINGTON SPRINGS — A man claiming to be a process server recently accused the Jerauld County sheriff of being an impostor. Sheriff Jason Weber said a county resident called his attention to a possible phone scam. The resident received a call from a man who said the resident’s daughter-in-law owed money, and the caller needed to collect it from the resident.

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“He thought to himself, ‘She doesn’t owe money. She doesn’t even live here,’ ” Weber said. “So he asked for the man’s phone number.”

The man gave a New York number, which the resident relayed to Weber.

Weber called the number from his cell phone, identified himself as the Jerauld County sheriff and spoke with the man. Weber asked if the man was in charge of the account for the Jerauld County resident’s daughter-in-law.

The man said he contracts those to different companies and that Weber would have to call someone else for that information.

“When I asked who I would call, he said, ‘Well that’s none of your business,’ ” Weber said. “And he hung up on me.”

About 15 minutes after that call, the man called Weber back and asked for his badge number, which Weber said he proudly provided.

Then the man called again later.

“He turned around and called my office and got the secretary,” Weber said. “He said someone was posing as the Jerauld County sheriff and asked to talk to the sheriff.”

The man told Weber the story of their conversation and Weber told him, “Yes. That was me.”

The man hung up again.

Weber searched the phone numbers he got from the man, the name of the company he claimed to be with — QCA (Queen City Arbitration) Legal Services in New York — and its address. Weber said the address came back to a library in Lackawanna, N.Y., and the numbers were associated with complaints on several websites.

In searching the Internet, The Daily Republic found many pages filled with complaints about calls from the number several times a day threatening to have victims arrested if they didn’t pay for bad checks they’d written or overdue payday loans.

Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, said the office has encountered many similar scams.

“The best thing a victim can do is ask for something in writing before ever giving any personal information out,” she said in an email to The Daily Republic.

She said the Fair Debt and Collections Act dictates anyone trying to collect money has five days to produce a document stating they’re collecting a debt.

On top of that, victims should call the Attorney General’s Office and alert them to the incident. Rabern said the office will then attempt to call the scammers.

This isn’t the only scam to infiltrate Jerauld County in the last five years. Weber said he had a few people in the last three or four years send just shy of $30,000 total to scammers who claimed the victims won money.

Another scammer tried to get people to send “a couple thousand dollars” in order to have them receive $20 million.

“There’s not much I can do about these guys, but tell Consumer Protection. They’re usually overseas,” Weber said.