Man scammed $5,000 while in the lobby of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office

Feb. 1—A middle-aged man was scammed $5,000 over the phone while in the lobby of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office last week by someone claiming to be a deputy.

According to Boulder County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield, the man came into the lobby on Jan. 25 and was standing near the front desk talking on his phone. The records staff employee was helping another visitor and when she came back to help the man he was sitting in the lobby no longer on the phone, so she assumed he was waiting for someone. Then a minute later the man approached the front desk and said he believed he just been scammed.

The man told the woman that he had just sent someone claiming to be a sheriff's deputy $5,000 over the phone and once he paid, they hung up.

Haverfield said this is not the first time the office has heard of people being scammed while at the office and it's a tactic used by scammers to make their story more believable. In an email, Haverfield noted another situation in which a sheriff's office employee had to run out to the parking lot after suspecting a woman was being scammed.

Haverfield said that the victim was pacing in and out of the building while on the phone and the employee told her to hang up after the victim said the caller told her she had a warrant and owed money. According to Haverfield, the office has seen more scams in which victims are told they missed jury duty and now have a warrant or their child is in custody and needs to post bail.

"The scammers are very aggressive and antagonistic, they use real deputy names and badge numbers," Haverfield wrote in an email. "When the victim shows up, the 'deputy' suddenly becomes unavailable and insists that they continue to make the payment."

Haverfield said victims are also told to not bother talking to staff at the sheriff's office because they won't know anything about the particular case. In response, the office have posted a number of signs throughout their entrance and lobby warning people of the scam.

Haverfield said that the recent scam is just one of many law enforcement agencies have seen and clarified that no agency is ever going to contact someone and demand a payment of any kind, including for a warrant, ticket, missed jury duty or court case.

"If the caller says they are from a law enforcement agency and even if the phone number appears to be from a law enforcement agency, just hang up the phone," Haverfield wrote. "If you want to double check, you can contact a law enforcement agency directly to confirm that they have not and will not do this."