A Houston mom conned by phone scam

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Scammer threatened to arrest woman if she didn't pay up

A scam continues to circulate, despite warnings from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and a Houston area mom now counts herself among those who've been conned.

The voicemail arrived early Thursday morning, telling her to call "Lieutenant Johnson at the court services division of the Harris County Sheriff's Office."

She did and he informed her that she'd have to post bond for two outstanding warrants. The price - $1148.

"It sounded official," she said. She asked to remain anonymous. "There was the sound of a county dispatch radio in the background, and he thanked someone for bringing him coffee."

Alarmed, on vacation in Colorado, she followed his instructions to load the money onto a 'green dot' money card and called him with the code.

"He told me I would be tracked down in Colorado and it would take ten days to extradite me home."

She didn't think she had any unpaid tickets, but didn't want to take the chance.

After she sent the money, she called a friend in law enforcement, who searched and found no warrants for her. That same officer called the scammer, and asked him why he was impersonating a deputy sheriff. The scammer hung up, said the woman.

She grew bolder, and madder, and called him again.

"I told him off. Then he said, 'I'm having a good day so I'll send you half of your money back, if you text a nude picture. All your money back if it's a good one.' I hung up on him," she said.
The Harris Co. Sheriff's Office stressed it never collects fees for tickets or warrants by phone or email. It also advises potential victims to never send money to anyone they don't know, or give out personal information such as birthdates or social security numbers.

The woman said what really enraged her was the scammers blatant lack of remorse.

"He told me, 'lady, I make 4,000 or 5,000 dollars a day doing this. This is my job.'"

When ABC13 called the number left on the voicemail, it was already disconnected.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff


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