By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead is warning area residents about a phone solicitation scam that is attempting to falsely raise funds by using the Sheriff's Office as a platform.
Grinstead was alerted to the problem when the solicitors called Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta.
"I received a call from someone claiming to be from the Colorado Law Enforcement Officer's Association, and they represented themselves as representatives of the [Moffat County] Sheriff's Office," Vanatta said. "The caller claimed to be raising money to support programs to help deal with violence in the middle school, which struck a funny cord with me since the middle school is in the city. And neither of us favor using phone solicitations, so it just didn't make sense."
Vanatta asked for a callback number, and when he attempted to use that number, it did not connect him to the Colorado Law Enforcement Officer's Association, as he was told it would. Vanatta then contacted Grinstead about the phone call.
"Walt called me about this phone call, and another citizen has called in about this, asking of it was legit but it is not," Grinstead said. "I don't believe in phone solicitation, and I want the citizens of Moffat County to know I do not endorse this program that is calling around saying they have the support of the Sheriff or the Sheriff's Office."
The callers claim to be raising funds for an anti-violence program for Craig Middle School, Grinstead said. He has contacted the Colorado Law Enforcement Officers Association concerning the calls, since the phone solicitors also claim to have their backing, but has not yet received a response.
"Especially given the recent attacks, people are real vulnerable to this type of call people want to do their part to help, to support their fellow Americans," he said. "Unfortunately, there are those that are calling people and asking for money, but are con men who are looking to take advantage of the situation."
Anyone who is contacted by a solicitor claiming to represent the Sheriff or the Sheriff's Office should try to get a callback phone number, and then call the Sheriff's Office, Grinstead said.
The Police Department still has an existing phone solicitation contract for the DARE program. Once that contract ends next year, the departments will not be involved in any phone solicitation efforts.