By Valerie Reddell
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and Woodville Police Chief Scott Yosko are warning residents of phone calls by scammers claiming they must send money now to avoid arrest.
Weatherford said callers are demanding payments sent by purchasing gift cards from local retailers.
"DO NOT send money to anyone calling you about arrest warrants or debts to the IRS without written verification," Weatherford said.
"Law enforcement will not contact you by phone and ask you to send money to settle an arrest warrant," Weatherford said.
In fact, law enforcement officers come to your home or workplace and invite you to come along with them to take care of any outstanding warrant, they don't send you down to the store to purchase a debit card or wire money.
Another Woodville resident contacted the Booster Monday after she received a call from a. man insisting that she had won $2 million in a popular sweepstakes and they just needed a $999.99 refundable deposit to ship her brand new Mercedes to Texas.
Fortunately, this woman insisted that the caller drive the Mercedes to Woodville and she would meet them at her bank and ended the call.
The sheriff advises anyone with questions or concerns, should call the Tyler County Sheriff's Office at (409) 283-2172. Warrant information is only released in person after valid ID is presented. Never, ever send money to someone you don't have an established business relationship with or know personally.
Another popular variety on this scam is the family emergency ploy.
Callers target senior citizens and claim a young family member is being detailed and then demands several hundred dollars to avoid booking the supposed relative into jail.
Don't send money. Contact a trusted family member or a local law enforcement officer who can help you verify your loved one is not being detained or have some other emergency.
Another good method of protecting yourself from scammers is to screen calls from telephone numbers you don't recognize. Even if the unfamiliar caller needs to discuss important business with you, a delay of a few minutes is unlikely to have an impact. If the caller claims to be with your bank or utility company, call the business back using a phone number from your records or the telephone book.