Houston County Sheriff’s Office warns public about scammers

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) - A familiar cell phone scam has resurfaced in the Wiregrass area.

Unknown individuals posing as police are calling Wiregrass citizens saying a warrant for their arrest is out for missing jury duty, and that they’ll have to pay up to get out of it.

“It is a scam,” says Sheriff Donald Valenza of Houston County. “I’ve said it before, we will not call you when we have a warrant on you. We will come knock on your door, or we may kick your door in, but we don’t call. You’re gonna lose a lot of money if you fall to this scam.”

The crooks are clever, in addition to using the Houston County Sheriff Office as a caller ID, they’re going so far as identifying themselves using names of real members of the department.

Valenza explains, “Virtually almost impossible to find out who these people are because they spoof these numbers off a computer, and a lot of them are in countries we don’t even have extradition treaties with.”

Other scams being used over the phone include: getting your social security number or vehicle warranty information, telling you a family member has been arrested to pay their bond, and that you’ve won the lottery, getting you to pay the taxes on your winnings.

“Main goal is to get your money and to possibly get your identity information,” says Valenza.

He says don’t fall victim to scammers who pressure you to pay.

“Call us if you have any questions at all,” expresses Valenza. “Once you give them those numbers, it’s pretty much over, you lost.”

The sheriff cannot stress enough that the Houston County Sheriff’s Office is not a collection agency.

If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and notify the sheriff’s office.

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