Scam alert issued by Texas County Sheriff

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Staff report
Staff Writer

The Texas County Sheriff's Department is warning the public about criminals posing as law enforcement personnel as part of an extortion scheme.

A release from the department states that a Texas County resident was scammed out of $5,000 on Wednesday, after receiving a call from an individual claiming to be the victim's grandson. The person in on the scam call claimed he was in jail in Colorado. An individual came on the line, identifying himself as Captain McGrady from the Morrison County, Colorado Sheriff's Department. The caller told the resident his grandson was in jail and the cost to bond him out was $2,000.

The victim was instructed to purchase gift cards to complete the bonding process. The resident purchased gift cards in the amount of $2,000 at Walgreen's in Liberal, Kansas, using multiple currency options. The victim gave the caller the gift card numbers over the phone. The caller then convinced the victim that another $3,000 was needed to complete the process.

Anyone receiving a phone call from a person claiming to be a law enforcement official seeking money should refuse the demand and report the call to local law enforcement immediately. Impersonating a law enforcement officer is a violation of state law. The public should be aware that no law enforcement officer will ever contact members of the public by phone to demand money or any other form of payment. These cases are very difficult to solve. In many instances, the caller is overseas and outside of the jurisdiction of United States Law Enforcement. Criminials can spoof caller ID numbers to show they are calling from government offices.

Sheriff Matt Boley offers the following prevention tips:

*Be suspictions of anyone calling and demanding immediate payment, especially by gift cards or wire transfers such as Money Gram or Western Union
*Ask for the caller's identity and independently contact the agency. Do not call the number that appears on your caller ID
*Do not disclose personal or financial information to unsolicited callers by phone or email
*Do note wire money or provide bank account numbers or financial transaction card numbers (credit, debit, Green Dot, or any other prepaid card) to anyone you don't know
*Law enforcement and government agencies will not demand payment over the phone by any of these methods.

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