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Vermont Epidemic of Fake Social Workers

December 6, 2012 permalink

In at least three separate incidents families in Vermont have been approached by impostors claiming to be social workers checking on their children.



DCF Imposters Target Vt. Families


Vermont State Police say they're investigating a bizarre series of people impersonating workers from the Department for Children and Families.

In some cases, police say the imposters knocked on doors, went into homes, and even checked out the children.

"It's just a series of unusual circumstances," says Karen Shea, DCF Child Protection & Field Operations director.

In the past month or so, police say imposters showed up at homes in St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville and most recently Sunderland Monday.

"They don't have much rhyme or reason in terms of location or why certain people are being targeted," says Shea.

Police say the culprits sometimes worked alone or in groups. In some cases, they went into the home and even checked out the child.

DCF says none of the families were actually being investigated by DCF.

DCF says it has 150 social workers who make thousands of home visits every year, sometimes completely unannounced.

So what should you do if someone knocks on your door and says they're from DCF?

"You can expect if someone from DCF arrives if they don't know you, they would identify themselves," says Shea.

Shea says workers carry state badges and you can ask to see it. She says if you're still suspicious call DCF.

"Or just call 911 if they have concerns about their safety," says Shea.

DCF says someone can't take your child without a court order. If the worker claims to have one, ask to see it.

More information about the incidents from Vermont State Police:

On October 29, the Vermont State Police received a report from the St. Johnsbury area in which a Caucasian female came to a residence at the Mountain View Apartments saying she was a DCF worker and was investigating a report of child abuse. The female suspect was granted access to the home; she inspected the child and left the premises without further incident. The female suspect was seen operating silver sedan, unknown make, model, or registration.

On December 1, the Lyndonville Police Department received a report in Lyndonville on Valley Lane that three woman (one African American and two Caucasian) came to the home claiming to be from "Human Services" (or "Home Health") and said they were "following up on a report that was made up the road". The male resident said the suspects inquired after the female resident, who was not home. When the female resident was not home, they left the premises without further incident. The suspects failed to show any identification and never exited their vehicle, which was described as a dark blue Ford Escape with New York plates.

Most recently, on December 3, the Vermont State Police received a report in Sunderland that three people (one female and two males) showed up at a residence on Phyller Dee Lane. The suspects advised the grandmother that the child's parents were under investigation by "child protection services". The suspects asked to search the residence and actually picked up the child for inspection. When the grandmother resisted their advances, the suspects insinuated that they may be back to take the child into custody and the child could go into foster care. The suspects then became nervous and left in two vehicles, one grey sedan and one maroon sedan, bearing unknown plates.

These incidents are under investigation by detectives with the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation. If anyone has information related to these incidents or suspects, please call the Vermont State Police at the St. Johnsbury Barracks (802-748-3111) or the Shaftsbury Barracks (802-442-5421). To submit an anonymous tip, send a text to "CRIMES" (274637) with keyword: VTIPS; or submit your anonymous tip online at