More scams reported

Officials with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office are issuing another warning concerning scams involving phone callers identifying themselves as members of the sheriff’s department demanding money.
Spokesman Sgt. Larry Christian said in the most recent scam, callers are identifying themselves as Smith County Sheriff’s employees, specifically “Lt. Robert Strickland’’ and “Sgt. Larry Christian.’’
The callers have fraudulently obtained these identities, Christian said.
One of the scam victims was told that he owed two $4,000 fines for Failure to Appear. Law Enforcement was notified prior to the payment and the transaction was not completed.
Again, the caller is asking the victim to retrieve the money and then stay on the line. Once the money is retrieved, they get explicit instructions on where to deposit it.
“If you receive a call like this, hang up and notify your local law enforcement office to advise them of the scam,’’ Christian said. “Please do not allow yourself to fall victim to these scammers and save your hard earned money.’’
In December, Christian issued a warning concerning the same type of scam, where victims are receiving calls from someone identifying themself as Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy Smith.
The suspect tells the victim that they have an outstanding warrant and to immediately pay a fine.
The victims have been instructed to go to local vape shots throughout the area and deposit money into bitcoin machines.
“We have also received similar reports of an individual identifying himself by the name of Captain Craig Halbrooks, who is the Patrol Commander for the SCSO,’’ Christian said. So far, approximately $50,000 has been fraudulently obtained by this suspect(s) from Smith County citizens. This suspect is requesting $10,000 to $20,000 at a time.
“At NO time will the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, or any law enforcement agency, call you on the telephone asking for money,’’ Christian said. “Law Enforcement agencies do not handle payments for fines or warrants.’’ Christian added if you feel that you may actually have a warrant out for your arrest, no law enforcement agency will call you requesting money. If you receive a call like this, simply hang up, call the agency in question, and tell the dispatcher what is happening. They will have a law enforcement officer call you to verify the scam.

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