NewsCovering Colorado


Scammers target News5 reporter, posing as law enforcement, what to watch out for

Scam attempts to get info, and money by acting as law enforcement
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jul 05, 2024

A scam that El Paso County Sheriff's Office financial detectives say is defrauding dozens of people a day almost caught one of our reporters. Here are a few tools to keep in mind so you don't fall victim to the convincing scam.

A few weeks ago, I got a voicemail from a man saying he was Lt. Del Hunt with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and that she did not show up to testify in court after getting a subpoena to do so. It turns out, it was a scam.

Detective Marissa Williams says people fall for scams fairly often, but it's hard to know just how many because people do not report scams, either because they are embarrassed or they figure nothing can be done.

The scammer never asked me for money but I did tell him I was a reporter, which Williams thinks threw him off track.

"I think probably he would have continued the scheme of, 'Hey, you didn't show up for court, there is now a warrant for your arrest. In order to get the bench warrant cleared, you need to make a payment.' And typically that's a payment in some kind of untraceable method like gift card or cryptocurrency, or something like that," Williams said.

I didn't lose any money in the scam, but the caller did have some of my personal information, which Williams says he was trying to confirm.

So what to remember so you don't end up embarrassed or worse, Williams says:

1. Ask for details - get their name, and the ticket, case or badge number if the caller says they're law enforcement or from a government agency.
2. Call them back - end the call or text conversation and call the agency they are calling from to confirm they work there and the call is legitimate.
3. Report the scam and change your password - it's annoying but necessary if your accounts have been compromised or someone now knows the answer to your security questions.

If someone you don't know is trying to contact you, immediately that should raise a red flag, Williams said. Even if you are unaffected by the scam, she suggests you report it by either calling law enforcement at 719-520-7100 orfiling a report online so they know what scams are trending and to warn residents. In Colorado Springs, you can file a report with the police department here. File a report with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation here.