The Liberty County Sheriff’s office is warning folks about an increase in scam calls throughout their area and in its surrounding counties.
Kimberly Franklin said she received several phone calls and a voicemail from scammers on Wednesday morning.
“He calls me back, was very versed in what he had to say and when on to tell me that I have charges against me from the Judge for failure to appear for jury duty,” said Franklin.
Franklin said the scammer identified himself as a deputy from the sheriff’s office and named a local judge who he said issued a warrant for her arrest.
The scammer claimed the only way to take care of the warrant was to either turn herself in or pay $2,500.
“I told him, ‘No, I’m doing that,’ and that I needed to talk to someone and verify at the sheriff’s department and so he said, ‘OK, I’ll have someone call you right now.’ I hung up and the phone rang instantly, and it came across as Liberty County Sheriff’s Department,” Franklin said.
Captain Ken DeFoor said luckily Franklin called the sheriff’s office to verify and avoided being scammed.
“The phone number they’re calling from is in fact our phone number but the secondary number that their asking you to call to speak to a particular deputy or officer is a number that goes back to them,” DeFoor said.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office put out a press release detailing the scam:
“The general public should be aware that the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office as well as Harris County S.O, Hardin County S.O, Jefferson County S.O, and Chambers County S.O. has confirmed that during the last several days, a SCAM operation has been reported by numerous citizens where the citizen is threatened by arrest for some alleged outstanding federal warrant and they will be arrested shortly if a certain amount of money is not sent to the respective Sheriff’s Office immediately. Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies are reporting the SCAM caller(s) will give the citizen the actual telephone number of the LCSO and even give the name or names of past or present deputies to contact and then give a secondary telephone number to those same deputies to arrange for the money transfer and re-call of the alleged federal warrant. The SCAM caller will also name some of our Liberty County Judges that allegedly issued the warrant to further verify the authenticity of the so called “federal warrant”.
The public should be informed and fully aware that the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office nor any other law enforcement agency handles their warrant service in this manner. The SCAM suspects depend on two factors to force compliance from the victims. First is the fear of immediate arrest if they do not forward the requested money and secondly the rush of a time frame to accomplish this money transfer thus giving the victims little time to think through this fake phone call threat before responding. If anyone should receive such a SCAM call, they should call the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at (936) 336-4500 and NOT the secondary number given to arrange for a money transfer and request to talk to a Sheriff’s Supervisor.
While confirming these SCAM calls with other Sheriff’s Offices, one of the other agencies reported that in their respective county, the SCAM operation seems to now be targeting Nurses and Physician Assistants as their primary targets. The public should, once again, be reminded of the fact that there are dozens of different types of SCAM operations out there all with but one objective and that is to relieve you of your money. The SCAM suspects will sometimes change the storyline and change the phone numbers on a daily if not hourly basis but the objective is still the same and that is to frighten the victim and rush the victim into making an emotional decision rather than a well thought out decision to check for facts before doing anything. As always, as soon as you suspect it is a SCAM call, the victim should simply close out the telephone call and report the SCAM call to your local law enforcement agency.
Capt. Ken DeFoor”