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Phone scams abound in Summit County

Park City Police Department

Never give money or gift cards to strangers calling on the phone. KPCW has this update on recent phone scams reported to local law enforcement.

Phone scams are nothing new, but criminals are always finding clever ways to convince people to give up their money. Lieutenant Jay Randall with the Park City Police Department said criminals are researching local police officers' names. Some have even used Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter's identity to frighten people into paying them.

Randall said the tactics include calling people claiming a warrant is out for their arrest, and a fine of $500 is due to clear their record. Randall said law enforcement would never use the phone to collect money on an outstanding warrant.
"We really want people to verify," Randall said. "I have had in my career a couple of times where people weren't sure whether I was a police officer or not. And I gave them dispatch’s number and let them verify that I was. It made them feel better about giving me the information I was looking for. And so, that's the message I'd like to get out. We're not going to come calling you on your cell phone and say, hey, you have warrants for your arrest. Nobody I am aware of does that at all law enforcement."

Captain Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff's Department said county residents are getting calls in multiple scam scenarios. And one of those involves people impersonating him and asking for money.

"Do some extra homework, find out if this is a legitimate business," said Wright. If it's a legitimate opportunity that you're taking advantage of. We see it even with Airbnb rental market where we're a resort destination. We have people that will book vacations, like show up here just to know that the rental that they booked doesn't even exist, or it is someone's full-time residence that doesn't have their residence on a rental."

Other phone scams include callers threatening people by claiming to have compromising photos collected from social media.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.