Sheriff's office: Impersonator trying to scam residents, non-residents

TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS - Someone impersonating a sergeant at the Travis County Sheriff's Office is targeting residents and non-residents alike in an apparent attempt to get money from them.

A resident from Williamson County reached out to KVUE and handed over a recording of a phone call his wife received from someone claiming to be Travis County Sheriff's Sgt. Williams. The man on the other end claimed there was a warrant for her arrest.

Kristen Dark with the Travis County Sheriff's office said the phone call was a scam, and she's not the only person who's been targeted in recent days. They're now warning people to not fall for it.

Jeff Cardwell, Allison Cardwell's husband, sent KVUE recordings of three different phone calls: The original voicemail from someone claiming to be Sgt. Williams, Allison's phone exchange with the Travis County Sheriff's Office and Jeff's conversation with the man claiming to be Sgt. Williams.

In the original voicemail left on Allison's home answering machine on Sunday, the man identifies himself as Sgt. Williams and said he is looking for Allison Kelly. Kelly is Allison's maiden name, which she hasn't used in eight years. He said he was calling regarding an "absence" on Sept. 5.

Listen to the original voicemail:

Jeff, her husband, later called the number that was left on the answering machine. A man answered, "Travis County Sheriff's Office." The man who identified himself as Sgt. Williams said there was a bench warrant for his wife's arrest for failure to appear for a grand jury summons.

The impersonator referenced an address that isn't located in Travis County and that the couple hasn't lived at for more than two years. He also said the summons was for Sept. 5, which was Labor Day.

Jeff then told the man that they would resolve the problem in person at the sheriff's office. To that, the impersonator said they would need to make arrangements ahead of time to prevent his wife from being arrested on the spot, despite Jeff saying that Allison had already called the sheriff's office and that there was no warrant for her arrest.

The man then hung up on Jeff after he said he doubted he would arrest someone "with an infant in tow."

Listen to Jeff's full exchange with the impersonator:

In Allison's call to the sheriff's office, the woman who answered the call said she had just received a similar report, and that it was likely a scam. The woman also said that "this sort of duty was handled by the constable ... and that they would not contact someone on a Sunday."

In a statement to KVUE, Dark with the TCSO said "these recordings represent a scam and we have received many calls from both residents and non-residents of Travis County regarding it."

Dark said if someone is expected to serve on a grand jury, they will be legally served in person by a law enforcement entity.

"If you fail to appear for Grand Jury, it would be possible for you to be held in Contempt of Court," Dark said. "The Travis County Sheriff’s Office would never accept payment for someone to be released from a warrant."

When KVUE called the number left in the original voicemail, someone on the other end said, "Hello" and hung up a short time later. On a second try, a recording for the Travis County Sheriff's Office immediately played, asking the caller to leave a voicemail.


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