By Chris Edwards
TYLER COUNTY – A recent scam has targeted the county’s elderly population and has involved the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.
Weatherford said that recently his agency has received multiple reports from residents about a phone scam where the scammers are identifying themselves as “a sergeant” from TCSO. Weatherford said the scams go as such: the caller informs the victim that they have active warrants, and then request payments in the form of cash app, money orders and other forms of online payment methods.
Weatherford warned the public that scammers have the ability to mask numbers and locations. “They can ‘spoof’ their number to make it appear as if the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office is actually calling,” he said. TCSO does not demand payments, nor does it call people to notify them of active warrants, Weatherford said.
“The scammers may also send you forged documentation of badges with the photo of a local, state or federal officer,” he said. “Always verify in person if you have any doubt when contacted by someone claiming to be law enforcement.”
Such scams have been a statewide concern as of late, with Texas residents also receiving fraudulent letters claiming the state will seize their assets for unpaid taxes unless payment in received, according to state comptroller Glenn Hegar.
“Be incredibly wary whenever you receive unexpected messages like these, as they can be a trap. The criminals’ threats are designed to get you to react by calling the criminals’ phone number or clicking on a fake link to solve the problem. The consequences can be catastrophic,” a news release from the comptroller’s office said. If you receive an unexpected message of this type, do not respond in any fashion. Instead, call the Comptroller’s Collection Team at 800-252-8880.
Weatherford also wanted to remind residents about the scam phone calls reported in Tyler County that the majority do target the elderly in an attempt to confuse or scare them. “We strongly encourage family members to remind their elders that they should never give money or sensitive information over the phone to individuals claiming to be with a government entity,” he said.