Local doctor warns against sophisticated jury duty scam - WSMV News 4

Local doctor warns against sophisticated jury duty scam

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Dr. Annette Kyzer says she scammed over the phone by people pretending to be sheriff's deputies. (WSMV) Dr. Annette Kyzer says she scammed over the phone by people pretending to be sheriff's deputies. (WSMV)

Dr. Annette Kyzer has been a obstetrician-gynecologist for nearly 20 years. She's been successful and discerning in her Nashville practice. One busy day this month, in between appointments, she received a call that said Davidson County Sheriff's Deputies were looking for her.

"They said they had an active warrant out for my arrest, and they had to come get me," Kyzer said. "I said, 'Why?' They said because I hadn't shown up in court for jury duty."

The so-called sheriff's deputies, who claimed to be from the warrants division, had detailed information on Kyzer. They knew she'd been a juror on a murder case several years back. Kyzer said the man and woman on the other end of the call knew the players in the court case, the judge, and they even identified themselves using real deputies' names.

"They knew a lot about me, personal history. It seemed very official. They definitely researched me as a target," Kyzer recalled.

That's when the scheme began. "They told me to come downtown or they would have to come here and get me. They said leave everything. Leave in 10 minutes. They said they would call me back in ten minutes because they needed to track me driving," Kyzer stated.

The two told Kyzer she needed to bring $1,000 cash to the sheriff's office, or she could put the money on these Money Pak cards. She did not recognize this request to be a scam, in the rush. She says there were police dispatch sounds in the background of the call and the fake deputies were using believable police jargon.

So, instead of being arrested at her job, Kyzer was told she could drive Davidson County Courthouse parking deck to be escorted inside the courthouse. She was instructed to stay on the phone through the entire ordeal.

"They were talking to me the entire time. I could not get off the phone," Kyzer stated. "They said they had to stay with me the entire time because they said that was the criteria for me driving down there myself instead of them picking me up in my office."

She quickly realized she was being tracked.

"They would know where I was driving," Kyzer said. "They would say, 'Why are you turning down that way? Where are you going now,'" she recalled.

When the doctor got into the parking deck, she says the fake sheriff's deputies told her to make sure she didn't have any weapons. She began to think she was being set up to be robbed. 

She says the two then asked her to read the numbers off of the cards before they walked down to get her.

"It was at that point that the light bulb went off," Kyzer said. "I said 'No, I will be happy to give them to you when I get inside.' 
I said, 'How do you know you're not just trying to scam me?' Then they got sort of angry and said we are coming down there right now to get you."

Fearing for her safety in the dark parking garage, Kyzer flagged down an police officer for help. She learned the whole thing was an elaborate scam. 

"They have you driving to the location of the police department, so you never suspect that there is anything not correct with that," she said. 

Looking back on the event, she says it was not only emotionally stressful, but impacted her patients. She later learned a friend lost nearly $5,000 a couple months prior in a similar scam.

"I don't want it to happen to anyone else. It was a gigantic disruption to my day. I had to cancel all of my patients, or one of my partners had to see my patients," Kyzer said. "Luckily they didn't get my money," she added.

Davidson County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Karla West said in a statement: "There are several scams that have plagued the mid state over the past several years. The DCSO does not arrest individuals in Davidson County and we never ask for money as you have described. People should never provide personal information or make payment like this no matter what they say."

Channel 4 has reported similar jury duty scams where con artists impersonate deputies and mirror official government phone numbers. It is best to never give bank or credit card information, or put money on Money Pak or GreenDot cards for alleged violations over the phone.

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