A scary scam has made its way to this area, and has separated gullible people from their wallets in San Marcos, 1200 WOAI news reports.
San Marcos Police Sergeant Fred Wisener says, like many scams, it starts with a phone call.
"They call and claim they are with the Sheriff's department and they tell the person that they failed to show up for a jury summons, and there has been a warrant issued for their arrest," Wisener said.
He says the caller, who sounds official, and frequently has a recording of 'official' sounds in the background like teletypes and sirens, warns the person that a deputy is on his way to arrest them, unless they pay a $2,000 ‘fine’ immediately.
Wisener says the 'fine' is then collected in a very bizarre way.
"They directed them to go to CVS Pharmacy and purchase Green Dot Money Pack gift cards," he said. "When they had done so, the caller instructed them to read the numbers on the cards to them, at which time they instantly drain the cards of any money."
Wiseman says, needless to say, there is no law enforcement agency in the state that operates like this. He says if somebody does skip jury duty, the likely response will be that the individual will get a letter in the mail warning them that they face the possibility of misdemeanor contempt of court charges. He says lawmen never call people to tell them they are wanted, and, of course, never levy instant fines and never demand payment in CVS gift cards.
Many of the people targeted by the scammers are elderly, and Wiseman says people over seventy are automatically exempted from jury duty in Texas anyway.
Generally, misdemeanor warrants require that a person come in to magistrate's court and pay the fine. They could be arrested in one of those 'warrant roundups,' but never without plenty of warning, and officials never try to collect fines on the phone.
He says if you do get a call like this, there is an easy way to deal with it.
"Hang up and call your local known law enforcement agency," he said. "They can tell you if there really is a warrant out for your arrest of if it’s a scam."