Thursday, October 26, 2017

SCAM Alert! Law enforcement will NOT call you about missing jury duty

MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Mesa County Sheriff's Office has received several reports of a phone SCAM where the caller is pretending to be a sheriff's deputy and threatening arrest if the intended victim doesn't pay. So far, no one has reported they have lost any money as a result of this SCAM and we would like to keep it that way!

Here's how the SCAM works. The caller identifies himself as an officer or deputy. Some versions of the scam they use fake names, sometimes they use real deputy's names. In this latest version, they are using the name Lt. Sorenson from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. Sometimes he says he’s from the “Civic” Department which does not exist.

The scammer tells their intended victim they missed a federal jury summons appearance or have missed jury duty and have a warrant for their arrest. To fix this, of course they need to pay money!! That's the first Red Flag. No law enforcement agency will ever call you and threaten to arrest you if you don't pay money. If you have a warrant for your arrest, we won't call you, we will just come and arrest you.

The scammer tells them the money needs to be paid in person to the Sheriff's Office, which sounds legitimate to a person who never has had a been in trouble before.

Here is another Red Flag: The scammer, then conveniences them that the Sheriff's Office only accepts a form a payment that has to be purchased at another location like a grocery store. The scammer gets his victims to buy a prepaid card worth thousands of dollars, then take it the police station. But before they go to the police station or Sheriff's Office, they must call and give them the numbers on the card to make sure they got the right form of payment. Then once they go to the police station or sheriff's office, guess what....the scammer has already taken the money off of the cards and the victim has lost the money.

The Sheriff's Office doesn't take prepaid cards as payment, only scammers do! We accept cash or check.

Why people fall for this type of SCAM
Scammers are getting smart. They are using all of the tools at their disposal to make the story they are telling their victims sound real. They will even get details about their intended victim from Facebook and other social media sites to make it seem like they are who they say they are. But they are lying!

Be careful of what you post online
Have you googled yourself lately? Looked at your public Facebook profile? Scammers have. If there is information there you don't want them to have, like your phone number, where you work, if you are gone on vacation...take it down, or increase your privacy settings.

What to do if you get a call like this
Hang up! If you are unsure if the call is real or a scam, ask what agency or company the person is from and call them yourself! Don't use the phone number they give you, look up the phone number yourself and call. Often scammers will set up fake phone numbers for this vary reason. You won't get into trouble for verifying information.

Please DO NOT fall victim to this scam. Call the Mesa County Sheriff's Office at (970) 244-3500 if you have a question.