Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said the area has seen “an outbreak of telephone scams” of late. He urged residents not respond to demands for cash from unknown callers.
“In the past few weeks the Barton County Sheriff’s office and the Barton County Clerk of the District Court have received several phone calls from individuals who have been told they either have an outstanding warrant, or that they are required to show up for jury duty, or that they need to post bond for somebody,” Bellendir said Tuesday. “These are all phone scams. The victim will be instructed to send a money order to a location only later to discover no such warrant or fine existed.”
Recently an individual in the county lost approximately $4,000 through a phone scam, Bellendir reported. The caller claimed that a relative of the victim was in jail out-of-state.
“We have also had one case where the caller identified themselves as a sheriff’s officer asking for bond money,” Bellendir said.
“Bonds on warrants and fines are never collected by telephone in Barton County or any other county in the state that I’m aware of,” he advised. “Before you post any bond, pay any fine or send any money to what you believe is a governmental agency, tell the caller you will call them back. Then look up the number of the agency they claim they are from on the Internet or from information. Call them back yourself to determine if this is a legitimate business.”
Bellendir said the scams are not new.
“In the past we have seen calls from numerous scammers claiming to be from federal agencies such as the DEA or FBI, as well as state and local agencies such as local Sheriff’s Office and in this case the Clerk the District Court. On behalf of myself and the Clerk of the Court, Heather Ward, we ask if you have any questions or doubts please contact our respective offices and we will be more than happy to help you. It is our most sincere desire no citizen is scammed through the fraudulent representation of our offices.”