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Voice of the Consumer: An inmate is not calling you

By: Betty Sexton KKTV
September 7, 2015 Updated: September 7, 2015 at 7:21 am
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photo - Betty Sexton
Betty Sexton 

It seems like the crooks just can't put down the phone. Now along with the bad guys claiming to be with the IRS, another group is calling, impersonating workers with the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. I talked to Jerry of Colorado Springs who told me he received four phone calls over a two-day period.

Jerry says the calls were recordings with a woman claiming she was with the El Paso County Correctional Facility. She did not have an accent and caller ID did not read out a number. The woman said that a prisoner wanted to talk to Jerry. She said all he needed to do was give her a credit or debit card number to establish an account.

Jerry doesn't know inmates at the CJC so he never responded. He doesn't understand why he was targeted, but he says he was a recent victim of the Microsoft scam and gave con artists remote access to his computer. He doesn't know if the two are related, but he wanted to warn others.

I talked to Jacqueline Kirby with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and she says this is the first time she's heard of this particular scam. Jacqueline told me those who are detained are called inmates not prisoners. They reside at the Criminal Justice Center or CJC, not the El Paso County Correctional Facility. She wants folks to know the proper lingo and procedures so they aren't fooled. Jacqueline says when inmates use the phone they make collect calls. She says callers are told, "You are receiving a collect call from (name here) at the Criminal Justice Center. Press 'one' to accept these charges."

Jacqueline says if you want to accept the call, you push "one" and then the charge will show up on your phone bill. Jacqueline says you never will be asked to provide your credit or debit card information. She tells me, "I think it's very cowardly to use a law enforcement agency to scam people out of their hard-earned money. It's very disheartening. It should be an instant red flag for people."

On another note, I want to thank Joe for letting me know he got a call from Jamaica from a man claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. Joe tells me, "He was just fishing for my bank or credit card information."

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Contact Betty Sexton at bsexton@kktv.com or call 457-8214.

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