Voice of the consumer: Scams aren't new, but people keep falling for them

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

I wish I could stop telling you about the same scams, but unfortunately, they keep making the rounds and people continue to fall for them.

It can be difficult when you get a call saying you’re going to be arrested. You’re caught off guard and feel pressured to do something before you even have time to think about it.

Just a few days ago, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that scammers are pretending to be deputies and are reaching out to residents saying they have an outstanding warrant.

The scammer claims if you don’t pay up, then you’re going to be arrested. The scammer will demand payment in the form of a gift card and keeps you on the phone while you drive over to pick one up. It’s part of the scammer’s plan to keep you on the phone, so you don’t have a chance to call someone else to tell them what’s happening.

Just so you know, you can’t pay your way out of a warrant and law enforcement will never call you to ask for money for any reason. Never give out your personal or financial information over the phone unless you know it’s a legitimate call.

This type of scam is discussed in detail on the Colorado attorney general’s website (stopfraudcolorado.gov) under the “Government Imposter Scams.” There are variations of this scam that also include the scammer threatening if you don’t cooperate, they’ll put a hold on your Social Security number.

Under this listing of this particular scam type, the AG’s office also talks about some people receiving an email from the “Bureau of Defaulters Agency,” claiming to go after people with unpaid, past due debts.

Apparently, the email looks like a court notice with an arrest warrant attached.

It states that the recipient has ignored the ‘bureau’s’ contact efforts and now his/her Social Security number is on hold by the federal government, he/she will be prosecuted for fraud, and owe all kinds of money when found guilty.

It also states that the recipient has only 24 hours to respond, according to the website. Here’s the thing: the Bureau of Defaulters Agency doesn’t exist. It is not a legitimate government agency.

The website also discusses another 25 other popular scams and mentions that it’s estimated that fraud losses total in the hundreds of millions of dollars in Colorado alone.

“Consumer education is the best weapon in the fight against fraud,” according to stopfraudcolorado.gov

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.