Don’t be duped by scammers who call you and demand money

  • Callers are breaking laws, including laws against extortion.
  • Do not fall for this scam.
  • Do not be frightened — law enforcement does not call and demand money.
  • Cases like these are good reasons to abolish the registry.
  • Listen to the voice of the scammer at the end of this post.

Law enforcement will NEVER call you on the phone and tell you to pay money to resolve an issue.

That goes for everyone, including people who are forced to register.

Nebraskans Unafraid recently heard from an individual who got a call from a scammer who used the Nebraska State Patrol’s registry to gather information about registrants, whom they call and attempt to extort money.

The scammers are violating several laws, including the law against extortion, when they engage in this bottom-feeding behavior.

In the case brought to our attention, the person who is forced to register received a phone call from a person claiming to be Nebraska State Patrol “Trooper Barnett.” The caller talked about the need for a “secondary” DNA sample. That’s a tipoff: No person forced to register is required to give such a “secondary” sample.

The caller, who used a spoofed phone number to make the call appear to be legit, attempted to frighten his victim by saying there was a felony warrant out, but the whole thing could be cleared up for the tidy little sum of $6,200.

Again: Law enforcement NEVER will call you up and tell you that you can clear up a problem by giving them money. Pay no attention to whether the phone number looks real, because scammers spoof the numbers.

Fortunately, the person who received this call was not duped. He reported the incident to law enforcement, and then to Nebraskans Unafraid.

“This is why the registry should not be public. It made me an easy and vulnerable target,” he wrote to Nebraskans Unafraid. He had the good sense to record the conversations. As a public service and an effort to out whoever is running this fraudulent scheme, we provide the recordings here with personal information bleeped out.

Here is the initial voicemail with the voice of the scammer:

Here is the call back to the scammer:

And here is where the scammer is told to shove it:

If you get a call like this, hang up and call law enforcement.

And remember to tell your state senator this is yet another reason to abolish the registry, which causes harm and protects no one.

Download The Perfect Bad Law and share it with your state senator:

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Louisiana’s Defense of a Law That Stamped ‘SEX OFFENDER’ on Driver’s Licenses

  • The policy imposed an additional form of ritual humiliation without any plausible public-safety justification.
  • Little evidence that registries do any good, and a lot of evidence that they do harm.
  • Registries expose people to government-sanctioned hatred and violence.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, October 4, 2021 declined to hear Louisiana’s appeal of a decision against its 2006 law requiring that people on the state’s sex offender registry carry IDs or driver’s licenses that say “SEX OFFENDER” in orange capital letters. A year ago, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that the requirement amounted to compelled speech and could not be justified by the state’s legitimate interest in protecting public safety. In addition to raising First Amendment issues, Louisiana’s now-moribund law illustrates the longstanding tendency to impose additional punishment on people convicted of sex offenses in the guise of regulation.

The registries themselves, which require sex offenders to regularly report their addresses to local law enforcement agencies so that information can be made publicly available in online databases that also include their names, photographs, and physical descriptions, are primarily punitive, exposing registrants to ostracism, harassment, and violence while impeding their rehabilitation by making it difficult to find employment and housing. There is little evidence that the sort of public notification practiced by every state delivers benefits that outweigh those costs. Louisiana’s experiment in ritual humiliation, which branded registrants with orange letters they had to display in every transaction that required producing a government-issued ID, compounded those costs without offering any plausible benefits.

Read Jacob Sullum’s REASON article.

Michigan Supreme Court: Registry Unconstitutional Punishment

  • Michigan’s highest court rules against retroactive application.
  • Provisions at issue are similar to changes enacted in Nebraska in 2009.
  • Ruling cites state and federal prohibitions on ex-post-facto laws.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, that requirements of the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act are an unconstitutional punishment for a man convicted years before the registry took effect.

The man’s attorney said the ruling in the Muskegon County case would impact others who were convicted before registry rules were amended in 2011.

The Supreme Court found that the 2011 statute was an unconstitutional “ex post facto” law that retroactively punished conduct, rather than an effort to promote public safety.

“We are asked to decide whether the retroactive application of Michigan’s Sex Offenders Act (as amended in 2011) … violates state and federal constitutional prohibitions on ex post facto laws,” the Supreme Court wrote.

“We hold that it does.”

Legislators enacted the state registry in 1994 as a confidential database for police. Certain offenders had to register and report address changes. The registry underwent changes and in 1997 became accessible to the public at police stations. It later went online.

The 2011 law required offenders to provide additional personal information, with changes in address or email, purchase of vehicles or travel, reported within three days, in-person.

The 2011 changes to Michigan law are similar to changes that were enacted in 2009 and put into effect under LB 285 in Nebraska.

A significant finding in the Michigan ruling:

“Defendant—as well as his similarly situated counterparts throughout the nation— endeavors to demonstrate that the dangerousness of sex offenders has been historically overblown and that, in fact, sex offenders are actually less likely to recidivate than other offenders. Further, he argues that sex-offender registries have dubious efficacy in achieving their professed goals of decreasing recidivism. A growing body of research supports these propositions. . . . For our limited purpose in examining the potential excessiveness of the 2011 SORA in regard to its public-safety purpose, these studies demonstrate that, at minimum, the 2011 SORA’s efficacy is unclear. Given the uncertainty of the 2011 SORA’s efficacy, the restraints it imposed were excessive. Over 40,000 registrants were subject to the 2011 SORA’s requirements without any individualized assessment of their risk of recidivism. The duration of an offender’s reporting requirement was based solely on the offender’s conviction and not the danger he individually posed to the community. Registrants remained subject to SORA—including the stigma of having been branded a potentially violent menace by the state—long after they had completed their sentence, probation, and any required treatment.”

Read the full story

Read the Opinion