JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Marilyn Thurman, 67, still finds it hard to believe that she fell for the fake bondsman scheme.
"I cried a lot last night," Thurman said.
On Sunday her son was arrested for DUI. His arrests ended up on internet websites, which she believes is what generated the scam call.
A man claiming to be Tony Davis called Thurman's son's sister who called Thurman with his number.
When she called the so-called bondsman to learn her son was in jail, Thurman said the man who claimed he was with Tony Davis Bonding said her son told him to call.
"He said [my son] said to call but [he] never said to call," said Thurman.
Thurman explained the man instructed her to purchase Green Dot cards and then give him the card information. She did so out of desperation, never questioning the man's credibility.
However, after she had paid the $900, she went to the jail to pick up her son, and that's when she realized it was a big lie.
"The lady at the jail said his bond has not been paid," Thurman remembered. "And then she showed me a list of licensed bonding agents, and he was not on the list."
She became upset and started shaking.
"I was like 'Oh my God, I think I just got scammed,'" Thurman recalled.
Adding insult to injury, Thurman then had to pay a licensed bonding agent to get her son out of jail.
She has filed a complaint with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. In the report, investigators stated:
'I attempted to locate Tony by name as well as utilizing his phone number thru multiple law enforcement databases in which yielded negative results."
Thurman may never recover her money, but she wants others to beware of the fake bondsman scheme.
"I'm still emotional over it," she said. "What about the people who have no resources and their family still in jail because they have given him all their money?"
Here are tips to avoid this scam:
- A bail bondsman will never call requesting payments over the phone
- Know that it’s a RED FLAG when someone calls to tell you that a loved one is in jail and that you can help them get out for a fee
- If you cannot personally verify the person who is demanding you wire money, hang up the phone