Familiar phone scams surface in Aspen
October 6, 2015
Two different phone scams that might sound familiar to Roaring Fork Valley residents surfaced Tuesday in Aspen, according to police.
The first involved an Aspen woman who reported receiving a recent message from a man who identified himself as a Garfield County sheriff's deputy and said he was calling about a warrant for her husband's arrest, said Sgt. Dan Davis of the Aspen Police Department.
The man referred to the husband by his full name and said the warrant could be taken care of over the phone using a credit card, Davis said.
The information about the case came from a Garfield County Sheriff's investigator, who said that agency recently has received between 20 and 30 reports about a man claiming to be a Garfield County sheriff's deputy telling people they need to take care of a warrant over the phone using a credit card, Davis said.
"It sounds like he's targeting the elderly," Davis said. "(The investigator) didn't know how he was obtaining people's information."
According to the Garfield County investigator, the man is using or actually has a southern accent, he said.
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Davis said the Aspen Police Department investigated a similar scheme a little over a year ago. At that time, an Aspen police officer called the number the man gave to people he tried to scam and the man told the officer, "I'm sitting on my porch drinking a beer. Come find me," he said.
Aspen police were unsuccessful in finding the man, he said.
"It's probably the same guy," Davis said.
The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office warned residents of nearly the exact same scam two years ago.
Davis said law enforcement will never ask for money over the phone or in person to take care of an arrest warrant.
"That's not how it works," he said. "Either we arrest you or you turn yourself in."
The other phone scam that came up Tuesday involves the IRS.
Michele McClinton, customer service officer at the Aspen Police Department, said she received three calls Tuesday from people reporting that someone reporting to be from the IRS called them and said they needed to provide a credit card for some kind of tax payment.
Aspen police warned residents of a similar scam in February. At that time, police told victims of the scam they could report the information directly to the IRS through the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.
"It comes in waves," McClinton said.
Aspen Deputy Police Chief Bill Linn said that if residents have any questions about a person soliciting money from them over the phone, don't hesitate to call the police.
"Absolutely call us for advice," he said.