Vail police: ‘Tis the season for scams |

Vail police: ‘Tis the season for scams

Scammers getting more creative, convincing, brazen

If someone calls or emails demanding money and information, don't give them either. Police say they're probably scammers. | Special to the Daily
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If someone is calling you or emailing you to demand money or information, don’t give them either. Police say they’re probably scammers.

The Vail Police Department has recently seen a spike in internet and telephone scams, ranging from fictitious rental properties to Social Security scams, Internal Revenue Service scams, credit card scams, lottery scams, online classified sales scams, and businesses or purported government agency scams, Vail Detective Sgt. Justin Liffick said in a town release.

Among the worst scams:

Social Security, IRS scams

If they call and ask you for your personal information, it’s likely an identity theft scam. Among their favorite ploys is to falsely claim that your Social Security number has been revoked or suspended.

“Your Social Security number can never be compromised,” Liffick said.

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Scammers pose as Internal Revenue Service staffers, claiming to have a warrant for your arrest for unpaid taxes. They don’t.

Scammers in both schemes will often ask you to buy gift cards, and then use them to pay their fictitious claims.

“Consumers should treat this request as attempted fraud,” Liffick said.

Rental scams

Then there are rental scams, especially prevalent in places like Vail. Residential and vacation unit scams are gaining steam. If you’re visiting Vail, or you’re a seasonal employee, the Vail Police Department encourages you to call the listing agency to learn whether it’s real. Vail’s finance department also has that information. You can call 970-477-3515 or email

While investigating scams, police have found email addresses and phone numbers on listings can be fictitious. They suggest sticking with legitimate management or real estate companies.

“If the price for a rental or vacation home seems too good to be true, it is likely a scam,” Liffick said.

Lottery scams

If you win a lottery, the money will be sent to you — you don’t have to send money to the lottery. If someone asks you for money, it’s a scam. Investigators say you should not have to send money to claim your prize.

Pay close attention to how words are spelled, capitalized, pictures and watermarks. Fake letters to “lottery winners” often contain images that are easily copied from the internet, police said, including images from federal law enforcement agencies, the IRS, Better Business Bureau, financial establishments and other well-known entities are often placed on the letterhead to make it look official.

Emergency, rebate and tech support scams

And if someone emails or calls claiming that a friend or family member is in trouble and that you should send money, verify it. Email can be hacked to steal email addresses of friends and relatives, enabling the hacker to impersonate someone familiar to you and ask for money.

Rebate scams and technical support scams are popular.

In a rebate scam, criminals try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a tech company, a bank or other organization. They’ll ask for a small payment to cover fees or taxes. They may also concoct a scenario where you were supposedly refunded too much money into your bank account. They’ll usually ask you to repay the overpaid amount through gift cards or other payment methods, often claiming that if you don’t the scammer will lose their job.

Technical support scams come by phone and online links in various computer operations. Don’t click on the links and don’t answer the calls. “Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer. Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number. If you need technical support, go to a company or person you know and trust,” police said.

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