TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - The Travis County Sheriff's Office said scammers are posing as deputies and threatening to put people in jail if they don't pay up fast.
Deputies said this is happening several times a week and we're told the victims are losing at least a thousand dollars each time.
"It's sad that’s the bottom line."
Three weeks later Terry Bearden is still trying to understand how he was talked into pulling $1,800 in cash out of his account.
"I mean..it was so convincing that I fell for it," said Bearden.
Bearden said on Oct. 17th a man called, representing himself as a Travis County Sheriff's deputy. He told him that a warrant was out for his arrest for not showing up for a jury summons.
It was true, Bearden had actually received a summons in the mail, but forgot to respond. He was scared that he was in real trouble.
"He indicated that there was a security bond that needed to be paid today, not tomorrow, not next week. It had to be done today in the amount of $1,850," said Bearden. "He goes onto say the sheriff's department, we don't take cards, we don't take cash, we don't take money orders. This has to be done with a green dot money pack."
While following the man's instructions to remain on the phone, Bearden went to his bank to get the cash and drove to a Randall's in north Austin to get the green dot money packs as the man suggested.
"I went up to the customer service check out and nicest guy in the world. I laid them out there and the $1,800 bucks in cash, he said do you mind if I ask you what you're doing with this?" said Bearden. "He said you may want to re-think this because I've had a couple ladies this past week come in here and do the same thing."
Bearden knew he'd been had. According to sheriff's office spokesperson Kristen Dark he was within minutes of losing it all.
"Once those money packs are purchased, he'll say as you're driving to the sheriff's office, or as you're driving to whatever official county location he's given you, he said what is the number on the back of the card. As soon as the victim gives the number on the back of that card, it's done. The money's gone. He hangs up. It's over. You can't get it back," said Dark.
Dark said at least two or three people are falling victim every week.
Dark said first it was college students being targeted, then the elderly... now it's physicians and business professionals like Bearden.
However, one thing always remains the same.
"On every single version of this scam is the money card or the gift card,” said Dark.
Dark said this scenario would never happen.
"The sheriff's office or other government agencies will never, never, never ask you to pay for anything using a money card or a gift card. When you hear that, you know that it's a scam,” said Dark.