STOP!


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office continues to receive complaints regarding money scams. These scams have numerous names such as the Grandparent Scam, Family Emergency Scam, Nigerian letter scam, the Advance Fee Fraud, to name a few. Each of these scams are sent unsolicited by phone, mail, fax, or most commonly by email, in the form of a letter.

Here a few examples of what the caller might say to you or the letter might say:

The "Grandparent Scam" is a scam that targets the elderly in an attempt to steal a large sum of money through a wire transfer. Financial losses from this scam are usually several thousand dollars per victim. A grandparent receives a phone call or email from someone who claims to be their grandchild; “You don’t know me, but your granddaughter is in jail in Michigan and needs money wired immediately…”

Con artists claim to be officials, businesspeople, lottery officials or the surviving spouses of former government workers in Nigeria or another country whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or 'taxes' to help them access their money. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive documents that look 'official.' Then they ask you to send money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney's fees, as well as blank letterhead, your bank account numbers, or other information. They may even encourage you to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete the transaction. Some fraudsters have even produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to verify their claims. The emails are actually from crooks trying to steal your money or perpetrate identity theft. Inevitably, emergencies come up, requiring more of your money and delaying the 'transfer' of funds to your account; in the end, there aren't any profits for you, and the scam artist vanishes with your money.

STOP AND ASK YOURSELF, IS THIS A SCAM???

*The first sign is the caller advising you to go and get a green card and send to… DON’T DO IT

*Don’t wire money and don’t send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.

*Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.

*Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.*Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.

*Check the story out with your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.

*Contact Law Enforcement and report the activity

DON’T BE A VICTIM!

Michele Bell, PIO

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