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Cyber Crime Investigation Against You

[UPDATED 2/4/18 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....

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
Subject:

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.

Thank You
CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT.

On October 17, 2017 a TDS Reader sent us this text she received from an unknown number:
A number of people on 800Notes.com are complaining about these texts and the 830-582-8782 phone number you are asked to call.  Complete fraud!

RAISE YOUR AWARENESS ABOUT THESE OTHER SCAMS:

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Amazon Customer Support... NOT!
Cybercrime Investigation Against You
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Learn how Steven got scammed out of $2500 while using Airbnb!

[Do you get our weekly free newsletter with the latest scams and tips to stay safe? Sign up now to become smarter and safer using the Internet! ]

On November 8, 2017 a TDS reader sent us this text she received.  Looks like "Officer Dawson" is still at this scam.  He hasn't even changed his phone number yet!

This is officer Mark Dawson from Sheriff's Department of Texas State. This is regarding a forward this legal case file to your local Sheriff's Office, call us back as soon as possible only on our direct department number-830-582-8782.  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.
Thank You,
CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT.

On December 7, 2017 a TDS reader reported getting this same scam but from a different phone number than those posted above:  830-328-4791
We found someone else reporting a scam from this phone number. Visit 800notes.com and drop down to August 17.

UPDATE 1/17/18: This scam shows no signs of slowing down.  Weekly, we hear from readers contacted by these scammers.  Today we heard from a savvy woman we'll identify as "Y."  Y tells us that she received the same scam text as everyone else.  She decided to call the number 830-328-4791 and reported this to us...

" I just received the following scam text and when I called, a man with a very heavily forced, exaggerated southern accent answered, after I called a 2nd time. He didn’t announce his name, just ‘Cyber Crime Investigation Department of Texas.’ I asked him if he’s so legit, then why is he sending text messages? I could tell he was on a VoIP line. When he started to speak, I hung up on him."

Here is the same text that Y received...

Update 1/31/18:
Many people are contacting us this January, 2018 about this scam.  Apparently the scammers are pushing really hard to make this work.  The scam phone number claiming to be the "Cyber Crime Investigation Department" is still 830-328-4791.  Another reader just sent us this text...

"Hi, This is officer Berry Richardson 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 on our direct department number 830-328-4791.  If we do not hear get any response from your side, then we have no option against but to issue an arrest warrant against you in 2 working days.  So call us back and be on the safer side.

Thank you.
CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT"

2 Working days?  Like 2 days that work for me? I'm pretty busy so it might be a while before I have 2 days that work for me.

UPDATE: 2/4/18:  In early February we've heard from lots of people who are getting these scam phone texts. These criminals now use the phone number: 830-582-8782

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-830-582-8782
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.
Thank You
CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT.

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