Jury Phone Scam Targets Elderly Local Residents

WACO (February 18, 2014) McLennan County officials renewed their warning Tuesday about a phone scam in which a caller purporting to be a local sheriff’s deputy is threatening elderly residents with arrest unless they hand over hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines for failing to report from jury duty.

“We have had a number of reports in our office and in the sheriff's office from individuals who were contacted and threatened with arrest,” McLennan County District Clerk Karen Matkin said Tuesday in a press release.

The scammers are primarily targeting area residents who are older than 70, Matkin said.

The callers tell their elderly victims that unless they hand over anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 on prepaid Green Dot Moneypak cards, they will be arrested, Matkin said.

In some cases, the callers told the victims that both husband and wife were guilty of failing to report for jury duty, Matkin said.

“One person went as far as buying the debit card she was asked to purchase to pay her fine and then decided not to pay,” Matkin said, but authorities think someone actually has handed over the money.

“We would like to find this person,” she said.

In many instances, the scammer identified himself as McLennan County sheriff’s Lt. Todd Owens and provided a badge number, but there is no deputy by that name working for the county, she said.