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Law enforcement paying attention to “sex offender” scams

By Sandy . . . For years telephone scams targeting persons registered on their states’ sexual offender lists have plagued registrants in half, possibly more, of our states. NARSOL first was alerted to this in 2018 and in turn did everything we could to get the word out. We posted multiple pieces over several years and featured the topic in a special, three-hour NARSOL in Action teleconference.

In more recent years, other issues have pushed their way to the forefront, and while we knew the scams were persisting, it was just one more thing among a host of others.

Recently the chatter surrounding these telephone scams has increased, drawing our attention once more to them, and this time with a distinctive twist. Most of the focus of today’s media reports is on law enforcement’s concern and warnings over the scams. While much of their interest may be driven by the fact that scam artists are impersonating police officers, the end result is the same: law enforcement seems  finally to be paying attention. At the beginning and for several years, anecdotal reports almost invariably said that officers were anywhere from indifferent to hostile when registrants tried to file complaints or report an incident. Media reports were infrequent and seldom mentioned law enforcement.

That is no longer the case. Many of today’s scam warnings are media pieces reporting on law enforcement’s concern, and in many cases, warnings coming directly from law enforcement entities themselves, including some from state agencies. The Nevada government web site bears a warning on its state police page. The Wisconsin DOC also features a warning on their website, and a most eye-catching and comprehensive alert was posted by the Delaware State Police. In Colorado, the City of Louisville posted on its official website a scam warning issues by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

In Oklahoma, the Creek County sheriff’s office could not bring themselves to identify registrants as the target of the scams, but they posted a warning on their website that clearly fits the pattern. The King County, Washington, Sheriff’s Office alerted registrants to the scam, and in Georgia, the DeKalb sheriff’s website featured a very prominent and thorough scam warning.

There are undoubtedly more states where law enforcement and government entities have issued alerts and warnings on their websites, and in addition to this, there are a host of media articles featuring these scam alerts. With headers such as, “Phone scam targets people on Delaware’s sex offender registry,” “Oakland County Sheriff’s Office [Michigan] warns residents not to fall for latest sex offender scam,” and “Deputies [Anderson County, South Carolina] warn of scam targeting residents on sex offender registry,” it is clear that attitudes of law enforcement, state officials, and the media have changed in the five or more years that these vicious scams were first set in place and used to attack and defraud a population terrified of setting one foot wrong for fear of being locked up.

The next step will be serious attempts to identify and arrest those behind the scams, which, given today’s technology, may prove very difficult if not virtually impossible; it is conceivable some of them are in another country. The next best thing is for every registrant to be made aware and be on guard. A person within our movement gave this advice to anyone who receives such a phone call and is tempted to listen and engage with the caller: “Shut up and hang up.”

That will work every time.


Sandy Rozek

Written by 

Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

22 Thoughts to “Law enforcement paying attention to “sex offender” scams”

  1. AvatarJoel Pomerantz

    Had an issue in Illinois. Someone called me saying they were with the county sheriff’s office and I needed to keep the phone line open, get in my car, and then would tell me where to drive. We called our local PD on my wife’s phone and he actually drove over to talk with us. Scary!

    1. AvatarRemoved from the Registry !!

      In Michigan the AG office, GHOST Team from Flint, and many Counties are the scammers.
      If someone was / is arrested in a computer sting Op be advised these prosecutions are bogus . An in-person crime must have occurred AFTER the internet intro.
      I just got removed from the registry after 13 years of a 25 year unlawful order.
      That is a Christmas MIRACLE😉
      I’m in the middle of a federal lawsuit I filed last summer ( myself) plus I filed a state habeas corpus in my trial court 3 weeks ago. Doe et al v Nessel et al.
      ANYBODY so convicted is actually innocent. The chat log proves no victim involved nor the required commercial activity . Accosting…Abusive Activity…Computer charges/ convictions are 100% NULL & VOID.
      Find the jury instructions online for proof. Study each MCL they charged.
      Happy New Year ! 💥

  2. Avatarmut

    thanks for the warning.

  3. AvatarScott M

    I was targeted by these Scammers in 2018. I asked them questions like, who was my sentencing Judge and what County my conviction was. that pretty much stopped them in their tracks. I called the Sheriff`s office and basically was told that they dont do this and not to worry about it and they said there was nothing that could be done.

  4. AvatarRobert

    I’m in Alabama and just had one of these the other day. It was very real and they knew exactly what to say.

    1. AvatarPeter

      I had a similar experience as Joel several years ago.

  5. AvatarSD

    I’ve received several scam calls. My local police department said it won’t investigate unless someone actually loses money because the detectives are too busy. I just got another call last week.

  6. AvatarArt

    If the police want you they aren’t going to call you they’ll just show up at your door. And if they had called you for real and you hung up on them I guess they’d show up at your door.

    Aside from this. Why do we not get notified by the state when they change/pass new registration laws? I almost got jammed up recently by not knowing.

    1. AvatarCherokeeJack


      Law enforcement will tell you “Ignorance of the law” is no excuse. We beg to differ, if you do you give us the information, how can we comply. This is done on purpose to get many of us back on probation or worse.

  7. AvatarJesse

    I’ve been getting harassing phone calls for years in Connecticut by persons claiming to be law enforcement. I like to think that if more people complain and make an issue out of “impersonation of a police officer” being a crime, the better the chance that someday law enforcement will take some action.

    1. AvatarTim in WI

      One unconscionable use of database begets another unconscionable use. SOR begets Scams. And some LEO INSISTED the database would DECREASE recidivism of sex crimes. Or did it make it worse?

  8. AvatarHopefully helpful

    Thank you, Sandy! I think it bears repeating that no law enforcement agency will ever attempt to enforce a warrant over the phone. Any phone call claiming that there is a warrant out for you and you should hand over money to resolve it IS FAKE. Always call your registration agent and/or local PD to report the incident.

  9. AvatarThe Criminalized Man

    Awareness campaigns like this ARE the best thing to do, not second best. Kudos to you and these LEO organizations for making the effort, and for any media who spread the word. People need to know it’s okay to protect themselves. Great slogan, “shut up and hang up”.

  10. AvatarCherokeeJack

    Was targeted by false law enforcement myself but didn’t fall for it. Then they went after my parents. Sheriff’s office said nothing they could do.

  11. AvatarTS

    Pssst…edit…it is King County, WA Sheriff’s Office, not King’s County. As WA native, I know this county very well.

  12. AvatarGeorge Simmonds

    I find a good way to avoid these scammers is to use a call screener, so if a caller is not on your contact list the call will be blocked and you can find out if the call is a scam call or not and some will give you information on the number.

  13. AvatarTim hearth

    These calls do exist! I have a true story that is over the allowed 350 characters I’d love to share, but can’t. I tried!! Tried to shorten it up to make sense…wish I could share on your behalf. Just don’t fall victim to these scams!!

  14. AvatarNo trust

    At some point, dirty cops must be behind at least some of it because the scammers are calling numbers that are unlisted and that are not published on the registry websites but are only accessible to members of law enforcement. That’s why the sheriff’s office won’t investigate the scams

  15. AvatarShawn

    I live in Williamson county Texas. The Registrar warned me of the scams. She said one Registrant was asked to meet a scammer with gift cards or he would go to prison. So he called the sheriff. He and the sheriff met the scammer. That must have been a real surprise. But knowing our sheriffs they gave the scammers a slap on the wrist and fined him.

  16. AvatarCJB

    Ms Sandy. when anyone uses the term”Sex Offender” that means that are Sex offending per the US English Language. Perhaps You all need to use a different term

    thank you in advance

    every time you use that Term I am Offended

    eradication of the Registry is the only Best Policy

    Please and Thank you!

    1. Sandy RozekSandy Rozek

      Thank you, CJB. I am extremely aware of the stigma associated with that term. I did not use it in writing the piece, so you must be referring to the header. Please note the quotation marks. They are there for the purpose of showing that, while that is what the scams are called, I have the utmost contempt for the term. We are torn between not using objectionable terms in titles and having titles that will attract attention.

  17. AvatarMike

    You can also choose to mess with the scammer and waste his time so he does not have that time to call another registrant and possibly scam them. Once I kept the scammer on the phone for almost an hour.

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