Local officials warn of international scams


By Randi Pierce

Staff Writer

Local authorities are seeing an uptick in the number of local calls concerning international scammers masquerading as U.S. government departments.

According to Detective Sgt. Jacob Beach with the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, the ACSO has received several calls recently regarding scammers posing as agents from a variety of federal agencies attempting to obtain money in lieu of charges and arrest warrants.

“These guys are making millions off scared Americans,” Beach said.

While the most popular form of the scam involves the IRS, Beach said a number of other agencies are also used, including the FBI; Drug Enforcement Administration; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

While the scams involve different agencies, they all share several aspects — calling an individual and threatening arrest if money is not paid immediately, usually through a service such as Western Union.

Some ask for money in lieu of charges or arrest warrants.

“The IRS isn’t going to work that way,” Beach said, adding later, “Law enforcement doesn’t take money in lieu of charges.”

Beach said the scammers also warn people to not contact law enforcement — something he said is a big red flag.

Beach noted that if a federal agency needs to contact an individual, it won’t via a threatening phone call.

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