Open Warrant scam tricking area residents into paying up

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Authorities from several law enforcement agencies are coming together to speak out against a scam that's been tricking more and more people into paying up or risk getting arrested. (KTRK)

Authorities from several law enforcement agencies are coming together to speak out against a scam that's been tricking more and more people into paying up or risk getting arrested.

"This scam has come up and recycled again," Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said. "We warned our residents about such a scam about a year ago."

Hickman and officials from the Memorial Villages Police Department say scammers are posing as officers and calling area residents, saying they have open warrants for their arrests. The scammers then demand money and threaten the victims with jail time if they don't pay up quickly.

"In most cases the victim has no knowledge of such debt and quite obviously they're shocked by the accusation that an outstanding warrant for their arrest exists," Hickman said.

Hickman says the scammers convince the victims into buying prepaid money cards and giving them the card information.

Authorities did not say how many people have fallen victim to the scam but said those victims have lost a significant amount of money.

To avoid falling victim to the scam, Hickman says recipients of such calls should always jot down as much information as possible, such as: a case number, warrant number, a callback number, and a supervisor's name and number. Most importantly, never provide anyone with information off a credit card or gift card that you don't know. He says most warrant officers will not contact you via the phone; if you do owe debt, make sure to contact the proper agency for directions on how to pay it back.

Potential victims of this scam are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency and the Better Business Bureau.

We'll have the latest updates on Eyewitness News this afternoon.
(Copyright ©2017 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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