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Latest scam is swindler posing as La Plata County Sheriff’s deputy

Law enforcement wants people to know they will never call or text asking for money or personal information

Yet another scam is afoot that law enforcement wants La Plata County residents to have on their radar. This one does not arrive by mail – it comes over the phone.

The caller impersonates a La Plata County Sheriff’s Office deputy who threatens to issue an arrest warrant if money is not paid immediately, according to releases from the Durango Police Department and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.

The call shows up on caller I.D. as coming from the Sheriff’s Office. The fake deputy is armed with detailed and valid information about the potential victim’s background, including any outstanding and unpaid tickets.

Victims of the scam are more likely to reveal personal information when the caller offers verified information about their potential victim.

The scammer also knows the names of Sheriff’s Office staff. Law enforcement refer to the scam as “sophisticated” and believe the perpetrator(s) is obtaining information from public records and data breaches.

“The Sheriff’s Office started receiving calls approximately two weeks ago regarding these scam calls,” said Sgt. Chris Burke with the Sheriff’s Office. “It’s unfortunate people prey on our citizens, but we want people to know what to do to protect themselves.”

Law enforcement urges people not to engage the caller. Hang up and call the Sheriff’s Office or Durango police. And know that law enforcement agencies will never call, email or text to ask for money or personal information, the release says.

Making it appear on someone’s caller I.D. that an incoming call is from a legitimate business or government agency such as the IRS or the Sheriff’s Office is called “spoofing,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“These calls are currently under investigation in the city and the county,” Burke said.

Law enforcement reminds people of the golden rule: “To avoid becoming a victim of phone scams never give out any personal information.”

gjaros@durangoherald.com

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