With the third round of COVID-19 stimulus checks being distributed as early as this weekend, the Weld County Sheriff's Office is anticipating an uptick in scams associated with the matter.

Deputies explained they have already started to see an increase in scam calls this week, in which criminals are posing as officers with the Social Security Administration. The call begins with an automated message, informing the potential victim that their social security number is under suspension. The message proceeds by urging the person to contact the Social Security Administration, or else a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Then, the message prompts the victim to press 1 to speak with a live officer.

According to the WCSO, several Weld residents recognized the call as a scam, but pressed 1 anyways. They reported that the person on the other end of the line had a thick Indian accent.

After the victim presses 1, the scammer notifies the person that the suspension can be corrected with the payment of a fine, and then inquires about banking information. The scammer asks the potential victims to provide a credit card number or gives them the option to purchase gift cards.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents that they should never provide personal identification information over the phone. Furthermore, law enforcement never accepts payment of fines in the form of gift cards, and warrants can never be cancelled in exchange for payment.
Something else to note, is that federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Internal Revenue Service, etc., never conduct business over the phone. If there is a problem, individuals will always be notified by mail. If concerns about an agency arise, the WCSO recommends hanging up and calling the agency directly, to find out if the original call was legitimate.

Anyone with information regarding these types of crimes is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com.

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