The Colorado Springs Police Department is warning community members of a variety of scams that are being reported. These scams take place via phone call or text message; many ask victims for payment in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency.
In one of these scams, someone will call pretending to be from a Law Enforcement Agency and indicate that the victim has failed to show up to court for a subpoena, sometimes as an expert witness, and now has a warrant out for their arrest. They will have the victim pay them a fine to remove the warrant, usually by having them purchase gift cards or send money through cryptocurrency.
In another type of scam, an employee will get a call, usually at night, pretending to be someone from the company the employee works for. The caller will ask for things like pictures of all the fire extinguishers. They will then say they are expired and in order to prevent the company from getting fined they have the employee take the money from the business and send it to them via gift cards or cryptocurrency.
Other scams can appear in a text message or email that looks like it is from legitimate businesses, usually asking a victim to call a phone number for further assistance. They will use many of the same tactics to have the victim send them payment.
Some of the tactics the scammer will use are keeping the victim on the phone the entire time while they are buying gift cards, transferring money, or making withdrawals. They make it sound like it needs to be done immediately which adds pressure to the victim. They will have the victim go to several different bank branches to make withdrawals to avoid suspicion from bank tellers and even tell the victim what to say to the teller if they ask.
These scams sound real, and scammers usually have some information about the victim or company that sounds legitimate. As a reminder, law enforcement will never solicit a payment of any kind over the phone, especially not through gift cards or cryptocurrency.
There are several things that community members can do to help prevent being a victim of a scam:
- Be careful of what you post on social media. Scammers can get personal information about you and your family that they try to use to their advantage.
- If you get a call from someone who is asking to pay a fine, warrant, or fee via gift cards or cryptocurrency, stop and take a moment. Remember that law enforcement will never solicit payment over the phone, especially through gift cards or cryptocurrency.
- If the caller says they are from law enforcement, hang up and look up the contact information for that agency. Call them back at the publicly listed number to contact to verify the information.
- If they are the CEO of the company or business, verify the information with a manager or another employee.
- Do not click on web address links from texts or emails; do your own internet search for the website or phone number to contact them.
These simple steps can help prevent scammers from creating more victims of financial crime.
To report a scam, contact the Colorado Springs Police Department at 719-444-7000 or your appropriate local jurisdiction. It is also encouraged to make a report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov