DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said it has seen a spike in reports of a fraud scheme where someone claims to be a sheriff's deputy to get money.
The Sheriff's Office has received reports about the scam over the last three months, but Undersheriff Tony Spurlock told 7NEWS there was a spike last weekend.
"They had received a phone call from an individual identifying themselves as a Douglas County deputy sheriff, asking for money to be wired to them," he said.
Carol Tornblom, a warrant specialist, took a phone call from a concerned resident Monday after the resident's wife answered one of the fraudulent calls.
"A gentleman called me in the morning and advised me his wife had received a phone call. The phone call had told her she had missed a jury duty summons and that Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy had called and advised her she had a warrant for her arrest for missing jury duty. They wanted money. They wanted her to wire them money," Tornblom said. "His wife was devastated. She was very afraid of that phone call."
Spurlock said the stories vary slightly. The caller may say the victim needs to pay a fee to remove a warrant, pay for an expired driver's license or pay to bail someone out. However, the caller always identifies himself as a deputy and requests wiring of money or credit card information.
"They’re taking advantage of the trust between law enforcement and the citizens," Spurlock said.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office sent a release that stated, "No law enforcement agency contacts citizens by phone, email, or regular mail and tells them to pay fees/fines by wiring money, using prepaid money cards, using a money telegram or using similar methods."
Spurlock said they work with the district attorney's office and Attorney General to rack down the people involved.
Law enforcement offered the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
-Never give your personal identification information over the phone or computer. You may make an exception if you initiated the call or contact and you are certain that you are talking to a trustworthy employee of a trustworthy business
-Never wire money to anyone claiming to be a police officer to get out of an arrest, etc.
-Never wire money to get more money back (sweepstakes or lottery), or help someone get out of a bad situation such as an arrest, or a broken down vehicle. Especially if the person requesting the money is not known to you personally, or the person called and claimed to be a distant relative, etc.