BELTON — Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange urged residents Friday afternoon to be wary of a new phone scam making its way through Central Texas.
Lange warned that these phone calls are often times disguised as local telephone numbers.
“When you get a phone call, it looks like a regular local number and they identify themselves as an officer from the Social Security Administration,” Lange said. “They will tell you that your Social Security number has been compromised, and that there are a number of bank accounts opened under your name across the country with large amounts of cash deposited in these accounts.”
The perpetrators will tell individuals that they have identified these large sums of cash as laundering money coming from drug dealers, according to Lange.
Lange said these scams put a lot of pressure on their intended targets, claiming to have notified the Drug Enforcement Agency about freezing any involved bank accounts.
The initial phone call in this scam is typically followed by a second from individuals claiming to be from the DEA itself.
“A little while later, another one would call back claiming he’s from the DEA, and that you’ve been identified as a money laundering agent and that they are in fact going to close and freeze all of your accounts … and issue a warrant for your arrest,” Lange said.
A percentage of the money in an individual’s bank account is requested as a manner of settling these complications, but Lange wants his constituents to understand that these requests are not realistic and illegal themselves.
“If anyone tries to solicit information from you on the phone, do not give out any personal information that you haven’t requested services or something from someone,” Lange said. “Do not go to your bank. Just think about it a second.”
Lange has received a call from one of these individuals himself, so he understands the pressure that can be put on residents.
“Fellow constituents out there ... please do not fall victim to any of these phone calls,” Lange said. “They’re criminals and they’re out to get your money. Please just be careful.
He encourages anyone who receives a suspicious phone call requesting money to settle illegal activities to please contact law enforcement and his office at 254-933-5410.
“Be safe with your information and be safe with your money,” Lange said.