[UPDATED 8/3/17 BELOW] On April 26, 2017 we received 2 screenshots from a woman, we'll call Carrie, who had just been contacted via text by someone claiming to be Officer Rickey Clarke from the Cyber Crime Investigation Department of Texas State. Carrie, it appears, was in big trouble and had a "legal complaint" filed against her.
Carrie was instructed to call Officer Clarke back at his number, 830-326-4237.
Thankfully, Carrie was savvy enough to see through this scam and sent us screenshots of the texts. However, we were curious and wanted to see what would happen if we called "Officer Clarke." When we called, a man with a slight southern accent answered the phone with "cyber crime investigation department, how may I help you." After we gave a name, the man asked us if we received a text on the phone we were calling from at that moment. Then he asked us to hold and we waited 30 seconds before he came back to say that he had no record of our number and asked for the number of the phone that received the text. We asked him if we were speaking to an officer in Texas. He replied with "this is the Wayland County Sheriff's Office, Texas." We asked him to confirm again, as if it were hard to hear him and he repeated the same information, after which we ended the call.
Some things did not add up....
- Google shows Officer Clarke's phone number as being associated with Dilley, Texas. Not Wayland, Texas. Dilley, Texas, according to Google, is about a 5 hour, 20 drive south of Wayland and has a population less than about 4000 people.
- Officer Clarke said he represented "Wayland County Sheriff's Office." We cannot find a county named Wayland county in Texas (using Google), though we do find Wayland, Texas located west of Dallas.
- Both Dilley, Texas and Wayland, Texas are tiny towns. Why would such small towns in Texas have their own Cyber Crime Investigation units when it appeared to us (using Google) that their police department couldn't be more than 5 people each.
We decided to contact the Police Department in Wayland, Texas and actually couldn't locate that information because the Department office is so small and doesn't have it's own website. We contacted the police in nearby Breckenridge, Texas and explained to an officer in Brechenridge what had happened and why we were trying to reach the Wayland Police. She gave us the name of the Wayland Sheriff and his phone number and we placed the call. The Wayland Sheriff knew nothing about a Cyber Crime Investigation unit for his town, nor any officer named Rickey Clarke. We gave him all the information, including Mr. Clarke's phone number. He thanked us and said he would look into it.
We would have loved to have heard the conversation between the real Wayland Sheriff and "Officer Rickey Clarke!"
On August 3, 2017, we received an email from a TDS reader. She was contacted about this scam via the following email. Notice that it came from a Gmail account, not a real police department of government account. Also, many people online have been complaining about scam calls from the phone number provided in the email, such as these on 800notes.com.
From: ccid txsp <ccidtxsp @ gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 12:35 PM
HI, This is officer Mark Dawson from Sheriff's Department of Texas State. This is regarding a legal complaint
against your name, and your social security number is under investigation. Now before we forward this legal case file to your local Sheriff's Office call us back as soon as possible only on our direct department number-830-310-6921.
If we do not get any response from your side then we have no option
but to issue the arrest warrant against you in 2 working days. So call us back to be on the safe side.
CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT.