Education, vigilance and involvement provide the best defense against crime. Would-be victims can protect themselves against white-collar criminals by using common sense and following a few simple precautions.
- Do not accept an offer where leftover supplies will be used.
- If the deals sounds too good to be true it probably is.
- Never pay in advance for services.
The Pigeon Drop Scam
If you are approached in a shopping center, mall or other public place by a stranger offering to share "found" money with you. Notify the Okeechobee County Sheriffís Office immediately. Millions of dollars have been stolen in this scam.
The Phishing Scam
If you receive e-mail on-line, requesting that you verify your bank account number, social security number or any other personal information, do not respond and contact the Okeechobee County Sheriffís Office immediately. Click here to see an example of a "legitimate-looking" scam.
Phishing can be accomplished in many different ways, and is one of the leading ways personal information is compromised. To learn more about phishing, take a look at this Handout from the Department of Defense by clicking here.
When asked to make a donation to charity over the telephone, always ask the caller to provide you with a verified financial statement in writing. By requesting this information, you will avoid making donations to organizations that either does not exist or those who receive only a fraction of your donation.
Long Distance Telephone Scam
You will receive a message on your answering machine or your pager, which asks you to call a number beginning with area code 809. The reason you're asked to call varies. It can be to receive information about a family member who has been ill, to tell you someone has-been arrested, died, to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc. In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. You'll then get a long recorded message. The point is they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges. Unfortunately, when you get your phone bill, you'll often be charged more than $24,100.00. For more information about this scam, click here to read the snopes.com article on the subject.
Do not purchase so-called winning lottery tickets from persons claiming to be illegal aliens, etc. the person will say they cannot collect the winnings without your help. You will be asked for money and assistance. The person will then vanish with your cash and you will later discover that the ticket is counterfeit. Report such an incident to the Sheriffís office immediately.
Mail Order Scam
Land and vacation packages and long-term medical care are just a few of the bogus "for sale" items pitched through the mail. Do not be railroaded into making hasty decisions, or impulsive purchases.