Sheriff issues warning of ongoing phone scams

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Sept. 9, 2014 Update: Our Constables are receving reports that the scam callers described below are also using their names to collect money for so-called outstanding warrants. Please remember that no law enforcement officer will call you to collect a debt related to a fine over the phone. 

The Collin County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints from citizens about current trends in phone scams, involving a suspect impersonating a law enforcement officer in the Warrant Division. 

The Suspect advises the potential Victim that they have outstanding warrants or tickets, or failed to report for jury duty. The victim is told that, to avoid an arrest warrant, they must pay via a Green Dot card, which can be purchased at many stores. 

Once the Victim has purchased the Green Dot card (reloadable pre-paid debit card) ​and placed money on it, the Suspect will ask for the PIN number to verify payment. The suspect then removes the money or uses a cloned card with the PIN number to withdraw money.

Another scam is that the suspect will target the elderly and advise them that a relative has been arrested.  Again, the suspect -- impersonating a law enforcement officer – advises them  to send money via a Green Dot or similar card. Once the money is charged to the card, the suspect requests the PIN number to verify bond payment.

This type of scam happens every day. The suspect’s story may change, but the tactic is the same. Get the victim’s to believe they may go to jail or a loved one is in jail and needing bond money. The suspect will then need a way to get the Victim to send the money via their bank account number, Green Dot card, Western Union, or some other way to transfer money.

These suspects use throw away-type phones purchased at stores that are not traceable like a typical cell phone. Most times the phone number used by the suspects are turned off within 24 hours, a new phone being a cost-effective way to begin another round of calls. 

The public needs to know that law enforcement officers do not ask you to send money. If you’re contacted by someone asking for you to pay a ticket or bond with these methods, hang-up and report the call to your local law enforcement agency.