Those who have served their debt to society – behind bars, via probation or both – are often branded as criminal offenders in very public ways for the rest of their lives. Although most felons must contend with the consequences of having a criminal record for life, sex offenders are particularly vulnerable to continued public scrutiny as their personal information is often widely shared due to sex offender registration processes.
Over the past few years in Virginia, scammers have attempted to take advantage of this vulnerability by targeting registered sex offenders in schemes designed to extract money from victims through threats designed to provoke fear. It is important that all sex offenders whose information is public are alerted to these scams and that they know how to protect their rights accordingly.
What’s going on?
The scams in question generally involve individuals who claim to be law enforcement officers. These scammers call and demand payment, insisting that they possess a warrant for the victim’s arrest. For example, one scheme that seemed to hit its peak during the summer of 2022 involved someone who claimed to be “Detective Keith McCoy” from the Virginia State Police (VSP).
In response to these scams, VSP has clarified publicly that the agency doesn’t employ detectives and that no one from VSP will ever call anyone to demand payment of any sort. Anyone who receives a scam call is encouraged to hang up and call VSP to report the misconduct.
Simply because registered sex offenders have been convicted of wrongdoing doesn’t mean that they don’t have rights. Individuals who have questions about their rights can benefit from seeking legal guidance and clarifying their situation accordingly.