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October 18, 2013

Police say telephone scam operating in area

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Police Department is investigating an apparent telephone scam in the area.

According to an announcement issued by the department Thursday, the current scheme appears similar to one which was operating locally and elsewhere in Texas earlier this year.

The suspect was said to have called a number and left a message identifying himself as Greenville Chief of Police Daniel Busken, calling regarding a fraud complaint and asking the listener to call back to avoid being arrested.

The police department warns the call was not made by Busken or any other member of the department.

The police department investigated a similar complaint in June, in which a Greenville man reported he had received a voicemail message which was said to come from the police department’s non-emergency number, 903-457-2900, left by a person with a heavy accent who identified himself as Busken, and indicating a fraud complaint had been received.

The message stated the man needed to call 646-719-8342 and speak to a Detective Mark White with the “Federal Crimes Department” or that the caller would send officers to the man’s residence and arrest him.

The victim contacted the Greenville Police Department, and was told the phone call did not come from the department. The responding officer ran an Internet search on the number, 646-719-8342, and discovered that several people had posted they received a call from this number.

The caller identified himself as a different law enforcement officer from around the country in each case and would make the same statement about having a fraud complaint filed on the receiver. The number in question is listed in New York City. A call from the newspaper to the number resulted in the caller being placed on hold.

According to Thursday’s announcement, a suspect with a thick Middle Eastern accent was pulling a similar scam in Trophy Club, in which he identified himself as a Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) and saying that he had an arrest warrant and a search warrant for the complainant’s residence.

 The Trophy Club suspect directed the complainant to wire $1,800 - $2,000 and he, the suspect, would get the judge to lift the warrants.

A search of telephone number provided by the suspect on the complainant’s voicemail revealed the phone to be located in Houston.

The Greenville Police Department is reminding local residents that law enforcement officials do not call asking for money to be wired to lift either an arrest or a search warrant.

Any resident receiving a similar call is asked to contact the police department at 903-457-2900.

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