Don’t be tricked: Phone scam tries to collect ‘fine’ for missed jury date

OLMITO — The Cameron County Sheriff’s Office wants residents to be vigilant about a recent scam going around.

Sheriff Omar Lucio held a press conference yesterday to discuss a complaint the department received Thursday about a recent scam.

A man claiming to be Detective Garcia with the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office contacted a woman and demanded money to pay a fine after he accused her husband of not reporting to court.

“First of all, we don’t have a Detective Garcia here in the Sheriff’s Office,” Lucio said.

The man claims to be a deputy with the Sheriff’s office or a part of other law enforcement.

Lucio said the man could be operating using burner phones or a prepaid untraceable cell phone.

The man called multiple times, first asking for $1,000 and then increasing it to $1,100.

According to Lucio, no detective has the authority to collect fines from anyone.

“Fines can only be imposed by a judge of that court where the individual was supposed to appear for jury duty,” Lucio said. “The sheriff’s office and other constables nor the district clerk have the authority to issue those warrants. It has to come from the judge.”

During investigation, the individual called the woman back when the detective investigating answered.

The man offered no further information and hung up.

Lucio said harassment via telephone is a Class B misdemeanor.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who receives similar phone calls to call the local police department and make a report.

Think you’re being scammed?

When someone is summoned for jury duty, it is by mail. In the case a person fails to show up before the court, people may face a fine of no less than $100 and no more than $1,000 or three days in jail.

Only the judge of the court has the authority to fine individuals. If you think a phone call is fraudulent, call local law enforcement to file a complaint with all available information such as phone numbers and names if given.