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Beshear: "Deputy" Scam Targeting Kentucky Schools, Teachers

Reports from teachers in Franklin, Jefferson, and Whitley counties prompted Attorney General Andy Beshear to issue a scam alert, warning Kentuckians about a new scam targeting school systems and educators.

In a news release, Beshear said his office has received multiple reports of a "Deputy Hart" calling schools asking to speak with a specific teacher who allegedly has an outstanding warrant or has missed jury duty. School officials have been threatened with “obstruction charges” if the scammer is not given information or allowed to speak with the teacher. Once on the phone with the victim, the scammer requests payment via gift cards to resolve the legal matter and avoid arrest. 

“While this scam is similar to the widespread jury duty scam, now there is a troubling new twist that indicates scammers are targeting teachers through social media,” Beshear said. “It is despicable that at a time when our teachers are focused on returning to their classrooms to educate children they are being targeted by scammers. I want to make sure every teacher is aware of this scam and takes steps to protect their information online.”

Reports indicate that the scam call is spoofed appearing to be from a local area code and one victim said the scammer pressured her to purchase $2,500 in gift cards, but ultimately she did not fall victim. 

Beshear’s office has been in contact with each school district, local officials, and the Department of Education.

Beshear has repeatedly warned of jury duty and similar warrant scams. Since the beginning of 2019, the office has already received 23 reports of these scams in Breckinridge, Campbell, Fayette, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, Kenton, Ohio, Owen and Shelby counties, with losses totaling nearly $2,000.

-Staff report