Sheriff's office warns about new scam targeting sex offenders in Howell County, Mo.

HOWELL COUNTY, Mo. -- We hear about a new scam what seems like everyday. But you may not have heard about the newest scam making the rounds in Howell County.

Deputy Jennifer Harper is the deputy in charge of keeping up with sex offenders here in Howell County. In the past 24 hours, several of those sex offenders have called her to make sure they aren't in trouble with the law.

That's because scammers are telling sex offenders they messed up, owe money and face arrest.

156 sex offenders call Howell County home.

In the past 24 hours, several got a call that worried them.

"So what we know is, the sex offenders are being contacted and told that they have failed to register and if they don't get a money card, they will be arrested," Harper told KY3.

The sheriff's office learned about this Wednesday night.

"Several of our sex offenders called in to dispatch and reported the scam and wanted to know if it was a real deal," Harper said.

It's not.

And it's not known who is calling and where they are calling from.

"Just a random one from what we're able to see, Harper added. The scammers are going through the Missouri State Highway Patrol website to find the sex offenders."

The scammers say to head to Walmart and buy a money card.

Deputy Harper says offenders, based on their state status, know when they have to register.

"There's tiers one, two and three. Tier one is once a year, in their birth month. Tier two is twice a year, including their birth month and tier three is every 90 days," she explained.

If they fail to register within three business days of their scheduled date, then a probable cause statement is filed and formal charges are sought.

"In Howell County we are very vigilant. We keep hard track of our sex offenders, when their due to register and when they've missed," Harper exclaimed.

Harper wants sex offenders to know the sheriff's office does not accept money cards.

"It's all just really still exploding. Several people calling saying hey. We're urging people, if you get those calls, all the registrants know they have to call and talk to me. If they have a problem, they can't make their appointment, whatever the case may be."

Harper says offenders getting these calls can also call the Attorney General's Office to report the scam.

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