Scammers are focusing on a new vulnerable population — sex offenders.

Beaumont Police Department spokesperson Carol Riley said the department has seen seven cases of attempted or completed scams on area sex offenders.

“A lot of their information and registration (as a sex offender) is public,” Riley said.

That makes them an easy target for those looking to profit off the fear of re-incarceration or other violations that offenders worry about after serving their time while still on parole or probation.

“The scam is to call the person and tell them they have a bond to pay or that they’re about to be arrested,” Riley said.

The caller ID will often display as coming from Beaumont police, the city of Beaumont or some other official entity.

“They have the technology to spoof caller ID, so it will look like it’s the right (number),” she explained. “They make up different stories about new DNA or an outstanding bond or whatever, then send them to a location to get cash and take it to a place with Western Union or bitcoin” to send payment.

Sex offenders are an especially easily target because, although they know the system of payments for bonds and more, “they’re so nervous and unnerved by the call and about getting into trouble again, that they believe it and do it,” Riley said.

Some have been scammed out of sums ranging from hundreds to over a couple thousand dollars.

Technology has allowed some scammers to go so far as mimicking family members’ voices culled from social media posts to try and prove their veracity.

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