Today I want to tell you about a couple of real-life situations that victims have reported to us, and our detectives are investigating, as costly crimes of fraud.
Also, a free Fraud Awareness workshop is being held Tuesday May 16 at Daytona Beach International Airport to educate our community about fraud prevention and how to avoid becoming a crime victim.
The first case involves a phone scam that’s on the rise: An unknown male suspect calls the male victim, pretending to be a Volusia sheriff’s deputy. The impostor tells the victim he missed a court date and must turn himself in to the Sheriff’s Office or pay nearly $7,000 to post bail and schedule a new hearing.
This suspect was no dummy. The scammer provided the victim with several pictures of fake court documents bearing his name and signed by a judge.
This is the moment that I would advise anyone who receives a call like this to stop and think:
No law enforcement agency with any integrity, especially the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, calls people to demand money to avoid an arrest warrant. That’s not how we operate. Nor does the IRS, or the Department of Homeland Security. Or your county library or court.
We could alleviate so much financial heartache if citizens would remember This Is A Scam. It’s A Scam. It’s A Scam. Don’t fall for it!
Unfortunately the victim in this case reacted emotionally, told the caller he didn’t want to go to jail and would post bail. After paying most of the amount demanded, our victim realized it was a scam and called law enforcement. He wants to pursue criminal charges.
In the second case, a husband and wife on the east side of our county discovered someone unknown to them had changed the address, e-mail, and phone number associated with their bank account.
Of course the stranger made multiple transactions totaling thousands of dollars
without their knowledge. They don’t bank online so they only learned of the fraud when their bank notified them by mail. They also want to pursue criminal charges.
This is known as identity theft. It occurs when someone uses or attempts to use another person’s private personal information—such as their name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, credit, and bank account numbers—to commit fraud.
Signs Of A Crime: Here are some red flags from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website—MyFloridaLegal.com— that you may be a victim of identity theft:
• Suspicious withdrawals or charges appear on your bank or credit statements;
• You receive a notice saying personal information was compromised in a data breach;
• Your bank or a creditor send you a warning about unusual account activity.
• Errors show up in a credit report, such as an unauthorized loan or account;
• You receive calls from a debt collector about an unknown debt.
Don’t forget: Fraud Awareness Workshop is Tue., May 16, 10 a.m. to noon at the airport. It’s hosted by the airport, the AARP Fraud Watch Network, and the Volusia Sheriff’s Office.
To register, go to: https://tinyurl.com /DAB-Fraud-Awareness or call Katherine Wisniewski, 386.248.8030, ext. 18318, if you need assistance.
Please talk to your family, friends, and other loved ones about how to avoid falling victim to scams like these.
Education is power. You can help us help you and our community stay safe.
Please stay smart and stay safe,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood