Castle Rock, CO

Castle Rock Police offer tips, details to avoid common DougCo scams

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Nov. 30, 2022

(Castle Rock, Colo.) Colorado ranks 17th nationally for digital scam victims. According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s annual report, over 10,000 Colorado residents reported crimes in 2021, and Douglas County residents are among them.

Scammers continue to target Colorado residents, and the Castle Rock Police Department created a list of common scams reported by the city’s residents and how to avoid their pitfalls.

If you are concerned you or someone else might be targeted by a scam, report the consumer fraud to Castle Rock’s police dispatch at (303) 663-6100, the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office at (720) 874-8547, or email consumer@da18.state.co.us

Government imposter fraud: Government imposters are threatening and very believable. Often, these scammers will call and claim to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, Center for Disease Control, police and others to gain private information. They claim many things (i.e., a warrant out for your arrest) and demand payment from the victims while threatening jail time.

Government agencies only contact citizens via the U.S. postal system. Never provide these callers with sensitive information; no government agency will threaten you. If you remain concerned, call the agency from a publicly listed number to confirm any messages you receive.

Gift card payment scam: Imposters ask for payments in gift cards. These scammers often reach out to their victims via phone or email, usually beginning the conversation with a series of accusations that invoke fear and panic, then demand payment via gift cards.

Gift cards are never used to pay government agencies, utility companies, service providers or other agencies. This is not a regular means of payment for most goods or services and should automatically raise a red flag. Gift cards cannot be used to pay legal fees, bail or taxes.

Homeowner contract fraud: Imposters convince you that your home needs repairs. These individuals then fail to provide materials and services after receiving payment, or provide poor quality or unfinished work.

When hiring a contractor, seek recommendations from trusted people, require references (specifically homes in your area), obtain multiple bids with detailed budgets, and read and understand the contract before signing off. If you have any questions or the project costs a lot, consider hiring an attorney.

Online retailer customer support imposter: Someone pretending to be an Amazon or other online retail store worker contacts you claiming an issue with the account or order. They ask for personal and financial information to “fix” the invented problem.

These messages can be received through phone calls, text messages, email, and sometimes social media. Amazon will never send you an unsolicited message asking for sensitive personal information (like a social security number). When in doubt, go directly to the source and login to your own Amazon account. Do not click any links provided, as these can track your information or lead to a site posing as Amazon.

Fraudulent puppies and kittens: Non-existent breeders sell pets and charge more for supplies to ship animals. However, there was never an animal in the first place, and you are out of money. Many of these companies have websites that look legitimate and appear to be out-of-state or will not allow you to visit the pets before purchase, citing COVID-19 as a reason. Communication is done over the phone, messaging, or email.

To ensure you are not scammed over a potential new furry family member, contact the Castle Rock or your local police department before taking action. You can also find online reviews and details, ask to make in-person payments, and choose a breeder you can visit before exchanging money.

COVID-19 unemployment or job offers: The pandemic created another avenue for scammers who take advantage of people looking for new jobs, facing losses in income or those in need of financial assistance. These criminals offer work or financial aid to gain sensitive personal data.

The scammers can send you job offers via text, email, phone, or social media. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never provide your social security number, birthday, or any banking information without verifying who you are communicating with. Do not pay anyone to get a job; never wire funds or write checks to strangers.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO
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