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Sheriff’s office warns of new scam

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Law enforcement is warning Bastrop County citizens about a gift card scam with a new twist.

According to an announcement on the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Facebook post, a person in the Elgin area reported a scam to BCSO on January 7.

Often, scammers will call their potential victims, pretending to be from a law enforcement agency, and say there is a warrant out for the victim’s arrest. In order to avoid arrest, the victim is told to go to a local store and purchase prepaid debit cards or gift cards, then give the scam-mer the numbers on the cards to transfer the money.

However, this time, the scammers added another element to the con.

The victim was at her home when she was approached by a man who said he was a deputy from BCSO, the post said.

The subject wore a tan shirt and pants, displayed an unknown badge and was driving a tan car, possibly a Ford Crown Victoria, that looked like a police car and had a push bar and lights in front.

The man had the victim’s identifying information and confirmed it with her, then told her many crimes had been committed using her information. He instructed her to call another phone number, where the victim was given instructions to empty her bank accounts to put her money on gift cards and prepaid debit cards. She was then told to give the numbers on the cards to the person on the phone, which gives the scammer complete access to the money on the cards.

At the end of the post, BCSO had some advice for citizens to protect themselves against these types of scams. They warn that if someone is asking you to put money on a prepaid card or wire money through a service like MoneyGram, it is a scam. Additionally, ask for credentials from someone in plain clothes claiming to be a law enforcement officer; for example, potential scam victims could call BCSO through dispatch or the main office to verify a potential scammer’s affiliation with BCSO through an employee number. They also advise to call a number known to be legitimate, but don’t trust a number given by a potential scammer.