Police: 'Imposter' using sheriff commander's name to rip off Utahns


    Get Gephardt investigated after the Utah County Sheriff's Office notified media of a scam caller pretending to be one of its officers. (Photo: KUTV)

    A desperate call from the "cops" is leaving some Utahns in a panic.

    In a voicemail, the caller is direct. The recipient is told that if they don’t call back, they will be in big trouble, facing “serious legal implications.”

    Get Gephardt investigated after the Utah County Sheriff's Office notified media of a scam caller pretending to be one of its officers. (Photo: KUTV)

    Otherwise skeptical folks may be tempted to bite. The caller says his name is Lt. David Oliver and he’s with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Get Gephardt checked and, sure enough, there is a David Oliver in the office.

    Lt. Erik Knudzen has known Oliver for a long time. When Get Gephardt played him the recording, he said it was “a little shocking to hear.”

    "I know Dave Oliver; I know him well. That's certainly not his voice," Knudzen said.

    Knudzen says the call is a scam - some deadbeat trying to dupe people into sending cash.

    Utah County is now investigating, working to shut down the number and nail the fraudster. The latter is a tall order since many of these fraudsters operate overseas and take payments from their victims in difficult-to-trace methods.

    The voicemail recording was given to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office by a would-be victim. Sgt. Spencer Cannon shared it with 2News in an email, writing, “'Lieutenant David Oliver’ just called this intended victim again and left him a voicemail. You might send Gephardt after him!”

    Get Gephardt, indeed, called the imposter. He answered, but promptly hung up.

    A call back led to an official-sounding voicemail with an outgoing message that lied, "You have reached the Utah County Sheriff's Office. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911 immediately."

    A voicemail left Monday was not immediately returned.

    Get Gephardt investigated after the Utah County Sheriff's Office notified media of a scam caller pretending to be one of its officers. (Photo: KUTV)

    Such so-called "imposter scams" are not unique. The Federal Trade Commission said it was the number one complaint the agency received in 2018, costing Americans nearly $488 million. The average amount ripped off per person duped was about $500.

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