Social media imposters cashing in on Pinal County Sheriff’s Office’s internet fame

Accounts on TikTok are pretending to be the Pinal County Sheriff's Office by stealing videos from their YouTube page and posting them as their own.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:20 PM MST
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PINAL COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - People are taking advantage of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office’s internet fame. PCSO is very popular on social media; take Facebook; when it comes to law enforcement agencies, they are the third most popular in the country, right behind NYBD and the FBI. Now, they are finding accounts looking to cash in on their success.

They are finding accounts reposting their videos, some even using PCSO in their names and descriptions. “It’s not us. These people claiming to be us making money is certainly a disservice,” said Deputy Frank Sloup with PCSO. Sloup is featured in many of PCSO’s videos that are being reposted.

Two years ago, the sheriff’s office began posting videos of traffic stops with Deputy Sloup for educational purposes. They make no money off them, and the move is what helped put the sheriff’s office on the social media map.

They aren’t active on TikTok, which is one of the platforms causing them trouble. “I run into people every day who say, ‘Hey, you’re that cop on TikTok,’ and I say, ‘Hey, first of all, I’m a cop in real life, but really it’s someone else who put me on TikTok,’” said Sloup.

The sheriff’s office can crack down on these imposter accounts on most platforms. The issue is TikTok because it’s banned on government devices. “In the realms of TikTok, government agencies and TikTok usually don’t go hand in hand. We’re not able to take those videos down because we don’t exist on Tiktok,” said Lauren Reimer, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

Deputy Sloup said his worry with these imposter accounts is if they post something edited or misleading to viewers. Arizona’s Family contacted some of these imposter accounts but got no response.

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