Scams becoming increasingly brazen, law enforcement says | VailDaily.com

Scams becoming increasingly brazen, law enforcement says

EAGLE COUNTY — Scammers are growing more brazen, say regional law enforcement officials.

Swindlers are working the phones in Eagle and Garfield counties, as well as the rest of the country, posing as court officials and IRS agents, trying to bilk money from people.

You're under arrest

In both Eagle and Garfield counties, the sheriff's offices say one of the telephone scams begin with a caller saying they work for the Sheriff's Office, and telling the person who answered that a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

“These requests are not legitimate and do not originate from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office or other related agencies.”Jessie MosherPublic information officer, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office

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The caller then states that the individual will be arrested if a fine is not immediately paid, said Jessie Mosher, public information officer with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.

Unfortunately, the incoming calls appear to be legitimate phone numbers, Mosher said.

They're not.

Technology is being used to spoof the caller ID system, Mosher said. The individuals are able to change their phone number and make it appear that they're calling from a local number.

"These requests are not legitimate and do not originate from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office or other related agencies," Mosher said.

IRS SCAM

In Garfield County and other areas, callers claim that they are from the IRS, and tell the person they've called that they owe money in back taxes.

The callers insist that the bill must be paid immediately to avoid additional penalties or other consequences, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said in a press release.

The victim is told that they can purchase green dot cards at a local store, and to call in the number on the cards to pay the debt immediately.

One of the victims of this scam avoided a potential financial loss of $10,000, because of a quick-thinking clerk at Glenwood Springs convenience store.

That clerk alerted the Green Dot Company before the perpetrator of the scam was able to redeem the cards.

"Not everyone is this lucky, and several people in our area have already fallen victim to or been contacted by the perpetrators of this scam," Vallario said.

Mystery shopper

In yet another scam, callers ask you to be a mystery shopper. If you agree, you are then mailed what appears to be a legitimate cashier's check.

You are instructed to deposit the cashier's check into your account keeping a portion for yourself and then purchasing money-grams to be mailed out to a pre-determined list of recipients. The theory is that as a "mystery shopper" or "secret shopper" you are verifying the integrity of the money-gram outlet, Vallario said.

By the time you realize that the cashier's check was phony and has failed to clear your bank, you have already purchased and sent out the money-grams. That money has been removed from your account, and you have no recourse.

Don't fall for this, or anything like it, police said.

"The IRS will always send you a written notice; they want a paper trail that will stand up in court if you don't pay," Vallario said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.