Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Scam Alert for Home Buyers and Sellers

In the past 6 months, we’ve had about 10 of these cases, so if you’re buying or selling a home, listen up!

Let’s assume you’re buying a brand new home here in the glorious land of Southlake. You’ve worked hand in hand with your realtor, your mortgage company, and your title company for the last few months. You’ve built a rapport with them. You expect an email or two a week, whether they need another pay stub or your last 6 months of bank statements. The purchase date is rapidly approaching, the movers are locked in, and all of the sudden, you receive an email allegedly from your title company that says “we actually need the down payment today, so please wire it immediately to this bank account.”

You do that, because I mean, the email came from the title company, right? Nope. Here’s what’s happening.

Hackers are finding a way to get into the emails of realtors/mortgage companies/title companies to send you these bogus requests. These guys are GOOD, and as you can probably guess, the down payment on a house here in Southlake isn’t a mere $20K.

If you’re in the process of buying or selling and you receive an email request for money, call your mortgage or title company immediately before sending off funds. Double check your emails and look for slightly off verbiage and misspellings. Look at the email address it came from—in our cases, the suspect email was one or two letters off the regular email address of your trusted contact.

And if you’re a mortgage or title company, please stop using public Wifi to communicate, because that’s how they’re getting in! We’re doing the best we can on our end, but we need your help!

Phone Scam Alert – Fake Jury Duty Arrest Warrants

Southlake Police would like to make residents and business owners aware of two scams that are currently making the rounds in Southlake and possibly other surrounding cities.

According to several residents who have called about the scam, one involved a caller who identifies himself as Lieutenant Collins with the Southlake Police Department. The fake lieutenant tells the person that they failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. He says that the person can get the jury date reset but that they have to post a cash bond in the mean time.

The other scam is  from persons identifying themselves as Treasury Agents stating that a warrant has been issued for the citizen for not paying taxes and that someone will come by and arrest them if they don’t take care of the matter immediately.

“These scams have been around for a while,” said Assistant Police Chief Ashleigh Douglas.  “Southlake Police Officers will never request or collect money over the phone for any reason.  The best plan if you receive a call like this is to hang up on them as soon as possible and provide police with the scammer’s phone number.”

If you have been contacted and the call seems suspicious, call Southlake Police non-emergency line at (817) 743-4524.

Scam Alert from the Southlake Police Department

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Southlake Police are warning residents to beware of over the phone money scams.

The Southlake Police Department is warning our citizens to beware of scammers who may call trying to get money from you.

We have handled several cases today in which a citizen receives a call from someone claiming to be a police officer.  The caller then claims that the citizen has a warrant for his or her arrest and must immediately pay money to prevent being arrested. The caller instructs the person to immediately obtain a green dot money card that must be dropped off at a separate location to avoid arrest.

Police have also received a report of a different scam in which the caller claims that the citizen is being fined for missing jury duty. The caller often has the last four digits of the potential victim’s social security number, making the call sound legitimate.

Please rest assured that no law enforcement agency would ever request money over the phone. If you receive a call like this, please immediately hang up and notify the Southlake Police Department on the non-emergency line at 817-743-4522.

Jury Duty Scam in Tarrant County

tarrantcountyCitizens are being contacted by phone by a man that identifies himself as Lieutenant Allen with the Sheriff’s office, Police Dept, and Constable’s office.

The caller informs the citizen that they failed to report for jury duty and a fine has been assessed.  The fine ranges from $2,000 to $4,000.  The caller advises the citizen that there is a warrant for their arrest and they must report to court. The caller usually tells them to report to Judge Thomas Wright at a specific court location like 100 W. Weatherford, Room 4C.  The name of the judge is generally the same but the location varies.  The citizen is instructed to go to a local Walmart or grocery store to obtain a Green Dot Money Card which is a pre-paid reloadable debit card.

The scam artists are using disposable cell phones so they have no problem giving the citizen a phone number to call them back.  Also, they tell the citizen they can contact ADA Clemmons with Tarrant County District Attorney’s office to verify the information.  Once the citizen gets the Green Dot Money Card, they are instructed to give the Green Dot Money Card information over the phone which will satisfy the fine and the warrant will be dismissed.  This allows the scam artist to get the money so there is no actual face-to-face contact.  The scam artists sound very convincing over the phone.  They threaten the citizen with jail and fines in order to get them to comply.

Tarrant County Jury Services would never contact you by phone to pay a fine for failing to appear for jury service.  Typically, we would send a failed to appear notice before taking any action.  If a warrant is issued for your arrest, there is no warning phone call.   The courts do not allow citizens to pay a fine in lieu of jury service.  A fine can be assessed, and in some cases jail time but it would still result in the jury service being rescheduled to a later date.

If you are contacted, write down the phone number the person is calling from and do not give the caller any personal information, then call the non-emergency dispatch at (817) 743-4522.