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"Scam Alert" from the sheriff's office. Graphic courtesy of El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

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Phone scammers have been targeting registered sex offenders, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office reported Tuesday.

The callers have been "advising offenders they have an active warrant, failed to register or are non-compliant," says a news release from the Sheriff's Office. After threatening to have the offender arrested, the scammers demand a Google Play Store gift card. 

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"Scammers will target groups of people based on their ability to access information," the release says. "They exploit and victimize the person they are calling by preying on their fears of a fictitious criminal charge or action."

Deputies will never call about active warrants, will never seek payments to clear warrants and will never ask for money for any reason, the agency said. People who get scam calls should never give out personal information or follow directions to buy any kind of gift card.

The sex offenders targeted were not among the 23 arrests made by Colorado Springs police recently in "Operation Broken Heart," said sheriff's spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby.

Statewide, 88 child predators were arrested during the two-month Operation Broken Heart. The Colorado Springs Police Department was the lead agency in the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which coordinated more than 90 agencies statewide as part of the nationwide investigation.

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"Operation Broken Heart" targeted suspects who are accused of charges related to child pornography, sex trafficking, solicitation of children online and child sex abuse.

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Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist with a specific interest in environment and outdoor recreation. She watches way too much Star Trek and is working toward her rescue scuba divers certification. Liz joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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