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The Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office in Nashville has received reports over the past few months about a phone scam in which a resident (usually in another city) receives a call from someone claiming to be from this Office. The caller tells that person that he or she has a loved one in jail here who needs their help to make bond. The scammer provides a fake name and phone number for the loved one’s “public defender,” and instructs the family member to call him or her. When the family member calls, someone pretending to be that “public defender” instructs the family member to wire money so his or her loved one can make bail. Sometimes the scam even involves a person crying and distraught, and pretending to be the person’s family member. This scam reoccurs periodically, and sometimes the caller will even claim to have a bar number or attorney number.

THIS IS A SCAM, AND YOU SHOULD NOT RESPOND. No public defender in Nashville (or anywhere else) will contact a member of the public by telephone or any other means demanding money via wire transfer, or any other form of payment. Anyone receiving such a phone call should refuse the demand and contact his/her local law enforcement agency or the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office.

Public Defender Offices in other states — including California, Missouri, and Ohio — have been the subject similar scams. Information about those scams can be found here: