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Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts is advising residents to ignore emails from him at present, as his office’s email system was recently hacked.

“They’re telling me they’re spoofing our email address,” Roberts said. “It makes it look like I’m sending you an email and its showing that its my email address, but its not me.”

Roberts said Friday that people from across the state and Texas, including figures like the El Dorado Police Chief Kenny Hickman and Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer, have contacted his office to complain about emails received from him. He said he believes the hacker must have access to his contacts as well as his email address.

The emails contain fake invoices, claiming a payment/money transfer from the recipient was blocked and is thus still owed. Roberts said there is variation in the emails’ bodies; one that was shared with the News-Times includes typos.

“Its just another trick way of trying to get money out of people. They’re too lazy to go to work and get a job,” Roberts said. “Hopefully people don’t follow this. We’re telling people to just delete it and that we’re sorry it happened.”

Roberts said if one receives an email from his office, they should just delete it. They should not open any attachments or links included within the email body. Some people have also received emails from Patrol Capt. Jason Parker. Roberts said those should also be ignored.

The Sheriff’s Office will never request a payment from someone over email. Roberts said he typically sends emails in the same format as letters – addressed to the recipient at the top and signed at the bottom; the scam emails have generally been devoid of those pleasantries, he said.

“We do not conduct our business through emails saying that anybody owes us anything,” Roberts said. “We would contact you by certified letter or most of the time, with a warrant.”

Roberts said he first began hearing of the false emails yesterday morning; he said he has received about 50 reports of them so far. His office is currently working to determine how the hack occurred and to rectify the problem.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]

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