Phone scams surface around Erath County

Ashley Inge

Within the last couple of weeks, the Stephenville Police Department has received multiple calls for service in regards to phone scams that are occurring in the area.

The callers use technology to change their phone number so that the calls appear to come from multiple local phone numbers, including the nonemergency phone number for the Stephenville Police Department.

“It’s a scam that we’ve dealt with for years,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lanier and public affairs officer for the Stephenville Police Department. “They’ve just kind of picked up in the last couple of weeks, identifying as either the IRS or the social security administration or claiming to be some version of law enforcement. They all kind of go along the same thread of claiming the person they’re calling has a warrant – it can be for multiple things, anything from murder to fraud – and then they ask that you provide some form of money to fix this problem, usually in the form of a prepaid credit card or an Apple pay card.”

Lanier said there have been more than 10 reports of residents experiencing this type of scam call, but he’s not aware of anyone sending money to the scammers.

“Over the years, yes, we have had people who have fallen victim to it, but I'm not aware of any in this current round that have actually sent money,” he said.

Lanier said no officer will request that individuals provide money to avoid a warrant being issued.

If an individual receives a call and they are unsure of the caller’s identity, Lanier advises them to not provide personal information or payment over the phone.

If anyone has received a call of this nature, they are encouraged to call the police department’s nonemergency number at 254-918-1273 to file a report.