A new telephone scam has hit Denton County and officials are wanting to spread the word fast and far to ensure residents are not fooled by it.
County Clerk Cynthia Mitchell said the scam involves someone calling from what appear to be the Denton County Clerk’s office numbers to demand that people make a payment or face a lawsuit or arrest, but that is not, nor ever would be, the way her office would handle issues with county residents.
“Our Denton County collections office does make phone calls and there are employees who collect for the county and it’s nothing like this,” Mitchell said.
She said residents would be aware of payments they have to make, due to court visits and signing payment arrangement plans.
“And when you miss those, they contact you, but always in writing first, never in the manner we are seeing,” Mitchell said. “It’s concerning to me — residents are feeling threatened to make some payment to some con artist.”
Mitchell said county officials found out about the scam last Thursday when her office received a call from a member of the public stating that a man named “Brian Burns” from the county clerk’s office had called and said that a lawsuit would be filed if a certain amount of money was not paid by credit card.
“The people got off the phone with the guy, [who] was very aggressive and very rude, and they called our office to see if the county had some pending lawsuit against them for some money they didn’t recall ever owing and, of course, that was completely illegitimate,” she said.
Mitchell said she has since posted warnings on her department and personal Facebook pages about the scam and the names involved.
On Monday, reports of other calls came in. Reports state the calls were from a man who claimed his name was “Detective Randal.” In each instance, the caller said, residents needed to call a “Mr. Dab,” and if they did not call him by the end of the day and give him a credit card number, they would have a warrant issued for their arrest and be a part of the warrant roundup happening this week, Mitchell said.
“In both instances, the lady stated the caller ID showed Denton County Clerk numbers,” she said.
Mitchell said one resident asked the caller, “How should I know this is legitimate?” The resident was told that since the call came from inside the county clerk’s office, from Detective Randal, that should be proof enough.
Mitchell, who shared information about the calls with county commissioners Tuesday morning, said she was concerned that whoever is behind the scam has a program or an app that makes it look like her department’s number.
“I have been contacting our investigator and our attorney in the DA’s office. Of course, Mr. Dab won’t answer their calls and won’t call them back,” Mitchell said.
She said she does not know how big the scam may be and that this is a first for her office.
Since the calls appear to be from the county clerk’s office because of the telephone number shown on the caller ID, Mitchell said, she wants to warn the public that the calls are not legitimate.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.