GALVESTON, Texas --A warning for residents in the Galveston area: a con-artist is impersonating sheriff's deputies on the telephone, telling victims that they failed to show up for court and that there's a warrant out for their arrest.
The caller then orders the victims to pay a fine by buying pre-paid credit cards. Once the victim gives up the account numbers, the money is gone.
"From top to bottom this appears to be a scam," said Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset. "This is not how we operate."
The sheriff's office has gotten 20 complaints about the scam in just two days.
It appears the scam is coming from a Galveston "409" area code.
The sheriff decided to call the number himself. At first, he got a voicemail where the recording actually said "you've reached the Galveston County Sheriff's Office". On the second attempt, someone picked up.
"The individual answered the phone," said Trochesset. "I said, I heard I had a warrant out for my arrest. He wanted my name, I said I was not giving him my name and that I would only talk to a law enforcement officer."
At that point, Trochesset says the man on the other end hung up.
He suggests you should hang-up if you get one of these calls and then contact the sheriff's office directly.
"Please do not fall for it," said Trochesset.
Authorities say similar scams maybe operating across Texas. The sheriff's office in Burnet county, near Austin, recently issued a warning about these types of calls.
Galveston's sheriff says he wants to get this person off the phone and put him behind bars.
"He's probably going to get a bed and breakfast in our county jail if we catch him," said Trochesset.