Phone scammer telling victims to pay up or go to jail

SEATTLE -- A telephone scammer has been terrorizing a local woman for days, threatening to send her to jail if she doesn't pay him.

Nikki Madison said a man called her to say she was under criminal investigation for bank and wire fraud. Madison had no idea who the man was and was thoroughly confused by the call.

"I'm like, 'What transactions were there?' He wouldn't tell me," she said.

The man claimed to be an attorney and warned Madison that if she didn't hand over her credit card number, she would be in serious legal trouble. When she balked, the threats continued.

"I'm not going to waste my time with it no longer. I wish you good luck in jail," the scammer said in a voicemail message.

Madison knew she'd done nothing wrong, but the phone calls unnerved her.

"Yeah, I was freaking out," she said. "I thought for sure I was going to jail tomorrow morning at nine o'clock."

The man told Madison to pay him $1,200 or he would call the sheriff's office. Reached over the phone using the number he gave Madison, the scammer said he's an attorney who contracts with several law offices. He only named one law office, which he said is based in New York, but there is no evidence that the business even exists.

Madision filed reports about the calls with law enforcement in King and and Snohomish counties. She also said the man has stopped calling her.

Madision believes the man got her information from a payday load business she used years ago.