Telemarketers are calling Scottsdale residents and others around the state with a pitch that starts off telling them a sex offender lives in their neighborhood, a Department of Public Safety official said.
The telemarketers with the United States Protection and Care Society, a California- based agency, then offer for a reported membership fee access to its Web site that provides the addresses of sex crime offenders in Arizona.
That information is already available on a Department of Public Safety Web site for free, said DPS officer Frank Valenzuela.
“They are charging people for something that is absolutely free. And when I say free, their tax dollars are paying for it,” Valenzuela said.
He said the department has received numerous inquiries from residents about the telemarketers. Valenzuela said several companies have reproduced the information provided by DPS on their own Web sites and then charge a fee.
The department is not investigating those agencies, Valenzuela said, because what they are doing is not illegal.
Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, also emphasized that the service is selling something to Arizona residents that is available to them at no charge. She said she could not comment on whether her office has received complaints about the telemarketers because the office keeps all investigations confidential until a determination is made.
“What we can say is that if you get this solicitation . . . call our office and file a complaint, because once they do that we can open an investigation,” Esquer said. “This is not a new scam. There are people out there who try to sell free information all the time.”