That call from the Denver Sheriff is probably not actually from the Denver Sheriff

There’s a new phone scam going around.
2 min. read
A Denver Sheriff Department vehicle. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If someone calls claiming to be the Denver Sheriff Department -- and that they have a warrant out for your arrest and you need to send them Bitcoin ASAP -- they’re probably not from the Denver Sheriff Department.

The Sheriff Department is warning Denverites about a new phone fraud approach involving scammers calling people impersonating a Denver Sheriff Deputy. The scammers call with a number similar to those on the Department’s website, give out a fake badge number and sometimes transfer potential victims to a “higher-ranking official.”

According to the Sheriff Department, scammers then tell the victim there is a warrant out for their arrest and instruct the person to pay them in Bitcoin to avoid going to jail.

“A DSD deputy or a higher-ranking official will never request payment for failing to appear in court,” wrote Daria Serna, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department. “A DSD deputy will never make contact by phone or suggest meeting on the street or at a facility for a cash payment and will never ask to wire money or utilize a Bitcoin machine.”

The scam comes as scammers and phone fraud become increasingly sophisticated. 

Scammers will often impersonate loved ones or use the threat of jail time or caution a security breach that must be fixed by sending money to the scammer.

If people receive calls from groups like their bank or a local police department, experts recommend hanging up and calling the group or company directly by looking their actual number up online.

In 2023, Colaradans lost more than $187 million to scammers, according to an FBI report released Monday. Colorado had the seventh highest number of fraud complaints per capita.
The Denver Sheriff’s Department is urging people who receive suspicious calls from someone claiming to be a Sheriff’s Deputy to report the information to police and report the call to the State Attorney General’s fraud line.

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