BELL COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – Deputies with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department have received multiple complaints regarding a recurrence of scam phone calls. In these incidents, the victim receives a phone call from someone identifying themselves as a member of the department.
The suspect(s) have been using actual names of department employees, which are easily obtainable through public records. Also, they have been using telephone applications allowing the suspect to disguise their originating phone number and causing the victim’s caller ID
to display what appears to be a call from a county office telephone.
Once the victim is on the phone, they are informed that they failed to appear for jury duty, or some other court proceeding, and a warrant or judgement has been issued. The offender claims that by paying a specific amount due via CashApp, Venmo, or through some type of electronic or prepaid credit card that the victim can “satisfy” the pending fine and avoid arrest.
The department says it does not collect fines or fees this way. Under no circumstances will any member of the agency collect any fine, court cost, judgement amounts, or warrant fees via telephone nor request any form of payment(s) to be sent via electronic transfer or by prepaid credit cards.
Parties with outstanding warrants, fines, court cost, or other fee are contacted in person by a uniformed member of the department, who will provide legal documentation and instructions on where payment can be taken.
Should community members question the legitimacy of any phone call from an individual identifying themselves as an officer with a law enforcement agency, the department encourages them to hang up, find the non-emergency number for the department, and directly contact the agency and request to speak to the officer or deputy directly.
The department says that under no circumstances should you ever provide any bank or personal identifying information or send any type of payment.