News5 viewer shares experience with convincing imposter law enforcement call

El Paso County Sheriff's Office says calls like this are an ongoing problem
News5 viewer shares experience with convincing imposter law enforcement call
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 09:16:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Fraudsters pretending to be members of law enforcement continue to call people in our communities, trying to convince them they owe expensive legal fees. News5 spoke with a viewer who was almost duped by the convincing phone call and law enforcement leaders who say this is a major problem.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tells News5 it’s getting reports of these imposter calls on almost a daily basis now. In some of the worst cases, people are losing thousands of dollars before realizing the person on the phone pretending to be a detective or officer was just after their sensitive information and money.

”We’re looking for you because we want to ask you some questions because a subpoena was delivered to this address and it was an old Austin Bluffs address I had in college… like 5 years old,” said News5 viewer Emily Shelton as she described the unexpected phone call.

She says the person on the line was using the name of an actual local detective.

”He said someone did sign the subpoena for you so we will have to have you come down to the sheriff’s department and do a signature analysis,” said Shelton. “I started going down there and he said to have him on speaker phone as I was driving to keep this all confidential.”

Then the man on the phone told Shelton to pull over and he put someone else, a woman this time, on the phone to help handle an apparent financial issue.

”Right now you have a $10,000 fine for not showing up to court and the judge won’t drop your charges for missing court and that’s $2,000,” said Shelton.

Feeling the pressure, this is when Shelton decided to contact someone she trusted.

”I started texting my family and they said that’s not right. That’s definitely not right,” said Shelton. “I hung up, but it was crazy how they knew my mom, they knew me, they knew my old addresses.”

Leaders at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office say they’re now hearing about experiences like Shelton’s far too often.

”It seems like it’s becoming maybe a bit more targeted. The language that these imposters are using may be a bit more aggressive and are causing more alarm amongst people,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jason Garrett.

Sergeant Garret has had his name used by imposters in similar schemes in the past. He says if there’s one red flag to look for it’s this one and you should hang up immediately.

”Law enforcement will never call you and ask you for money. It will never happen,” said Garrett.

If you unfortunately lose money to a law enforcement imposter call it’s important to report it and file a police report with details about the experience.

If you are targeted by fraud or a scam call that you want to help get the word out on you can reach out to us here at News5 24/7.

Send us the details here.

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