“ALERT”, Scam Threats in Liberty County

LIBERTY, November 6, 2014 - It appears that various forms of the same type “scam” operations are in play in Liberty County as well, perhaps, in surrounding areas. Although the initial contact story may vary, the end results are the same and that is to separate the victim from their money in their bank account.  Liberty County residents are being warned to NOT respond to these type telephone calls and to report the incident as quickly as possible to their local law enforcement agency.

On Wednesday,  November 5th. Sgt. Investigator Kenny Dagle responded to a citizen complaint where the unknown caller told the potential victim that he was calling from their local electrical power company and their power would be turned off within an hour if they did not go to a local store and obtain a “Green Dot Money Pack” and call a certain number back and give them the fax number off the back of the “green dot card”. The number the victim was told to call back to will be either an 800, 866 or 888 prefix number but ending with the same numbers of “2826”. If the victim calls this number back and gives the caller the numbers off the back of the “green dot card”, it will allow the caller to direct funds from the victim’s bank account, possibly up to $500.00, to some foreign bank account set up by the scammer.

In an effort to follow up on this particular complaint, Sgt. Dagle called the number given to the potential victim and the phone was answered by a male with a Middle Easter dialect which the Sergeant found difficult to understand. Sgt. Dagle ask the person if he could speak to someone who spoke better English, the person on the phone seemed to repeat the same words over and over as though he was reading off a “cue card”. He kept telling Sergeant Dagle that, “… this is Walter, may I help you…”. Finally, “Walter” put a female on the phone who also had a Middle Easter dialect and when Sgt. Dagle ask her if she was the man’s wife, she hung up the phone and no further contact was made. Sgt. Dagle stated this call seems to have come from the “Islands” and/or some foreign country.

Sgt. Dagle also cautioned citizens to simply call the electrical power companies number shown on their billing and ask them if one of their employees did, in fact, place a call to them regarding a late payment and/or a possibility of having their power cut off. The various electrical companies do not conduct their business in this manner.

A second complaint that came into the Sheriff’s Department yesterday, November 5th. was somewhat different on their approach story to the potential victim but, again, the end results were the same regarding the obtaining of a “Green Dot Money Pack” from a local store and calling back to the caller and giving them the number off the back of the card.

In this incident, Sgt. “Bubba” Pearson said the potential victim was called by a male with a Middle Eastern dialect who told the possible victim that, “… we have received a complaint on you from the Department of Criminal Justice and you need to call Officer John Harris at (717) 889-4003….” When this number is called, someone will tell the caller that in order to stop the investigation, they need to go to a local store and obtain a “Green Dot Money Pack” and call the number on the back into their office. Again, the end results are the same as the first “scam” mentioned. HOWEVER….. there is a twist to this call as the phone number that will show up on your phone will be (936) 336-4500 which is the telephone number for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department. The caller has evidently go to a “spoofing” website where a person can have their real telephone number changed to any other phone number they wish so it will show up on the potential victims phone as being from some other phone number other than their own.

When Sgt. Pearson attempted to conduct a follow up on the number left by the caller, it went to a voice message that stated, “… this number has not been assigned….”, and, again, in a Middle Eastern dialect.

The Sheriff’s Department is alerting the public to be aware of these “scams” and to simply hang up the telephone if you should receive a call as described or any type similar to what has been described as the “scammers” will vary not only the story that goes along with the “scam” but the telephone numbers are changed frequently as well.

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