Scammers posing as law enforcement use fraud, fear trying to take money from victims

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Douglas County residents are reporting the resurgence of a telephone scam where callers posing as law enforcement officers attempt to use fraudulent charges and threats of arrest to take money from victims.

According to a recent alert issued by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, callers state that the individual has a warrant for failure to appear in court or for failing to report for jury duty. The caller then tells potential victims that they can avoid arrest and jail time if they make an immediate payment.


Victims have reported that some of these calls appear to come from sheriff’s office phone numbers. This common tactic, sometimes called “spoofing,” is an illegal method of deliberately falsifying identity.

“No deputy or employee of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will ever ask you to give them money—not if you have an outstanding warrant, not to avoid an arrest, not to avoid a ticket,” the alert says. “If someone presents themselves as one of our deputies or employees and states you have legal issues and need to pay a sum of money immediately, they are attempting to scam you.”

Sheriff’s office spokesperson George Diepenbrock said the same alert had also been issued in November. Similar scams have been reported recently in both Kansas and Missouri.

“We want people to be aware that’s not how we would operate in that situation,” he said. “We want to get the message out there.”

The sheriff’s office asks victims of any type of phone scam to contact the Kansas Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division. The website links to general information about telephone scams and the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry.

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Andrea Albright (she/her), reporter, can be reached at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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