No one wants to receive a phone call from any form of law enforcement stating they have warrant out for their arrest. It's even more alarming when they realize the call is from someone who has no affiliation with any law enforcement branch.
Recently, Quitman resident, Jesse Valentine, received such a call. The caller informed him had a warrant out for his arrest and if he didn’t pay court costs he would be picked by the Quitman Police Department the following day at 2 p.m.
“When I looked at my phone, the caller ID showed Quitman Police Department,” said Valentine.
As the call progressed, he could not get any information from him regarding the reason for the warrant. The caller proceeded to tell Valentine if he paid $500 toward his court costs, the warrant would be waived.
Valentine hung the phone up and paid a visit to the Quitman Police Department to talk with Police Chief Todd Henry.
“The police chief seemed a little shocked about the situation. He took a picture of the caller ID and said he would look into it,” said Valentine.
He thought the matter was behind him until last week, when received another phone call that was a repeat of the first attempted scam. If he didn’t pay a court cost up to $500, he would be thrown in jail.
“This time it was different. There was a female calling, but I could hear a male telling her what to say in the background.” said Valentine.
Valentine said the female on the phone seemed nervous and she kept fumbling her words. She told him she was with the Quitman Sheriff's Department. The fact that they said Quitman 'Sheriff's Office' instead of 'Police Department' automatically raised red flags. He said he was on the phone with her for 15 to 20 minutes before hanging up the phone.
“Tried calling the number back several times, but came up with nothing.” said Chief Henry.
Henry said, so far, this was the only victim that has reported this type of scam posing as the Quitman Police Department.
After investigating the situation further, Henry explained that most scam calls they have received have all came from Jamaica and Canada. He made it clear that local authorities will never call looking for money.
“Always follow up with local authorities before making any payments like that.” said Henry.
If you get contacted by suspected scammers, the best thing to do is just hang up. The more you talk to them, the more it's possible they can con some kind of information from you. If you feel you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local police department or the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office.