Today, I want to remind everyone about scams that can begin with seemingly innocent activities—usually online—and often wind up costing people a lot of money and the heartache of becoming a crime victim, if they’re not careful.
Nearly every week, our detectives at the Volusia Sheriff’s Office encounter cases in which people interact online, possibly using a dating website, communicating on social media platforms, or even using financial apps to send money.
Recently, a West Volusia resident re-ported that she had become the victim of a scam after she met a man on a dating website. Weeks later, the male began asking her for money.
First he told her he had traveled cross-country, got robbed, and needed money. Unfortunately, she believed him. She bought American Express gift cards totaling $6,000 and sent him the information to cash them. Next, the male suspect claimed he found a valuable rock while offshore and when he tried to bring it back to the mainland, he told her he needed $4,000 more to pass through Customs.
The victim sent him the money using another American Express gift card, then realized she was being scammed and called the Sheriff’s Office to report it. This case is under active investigation.
Another case reported to us in recent weeks involves a Volusia County resident who discovered unauthorized charges of more than $1,000 were made on the credit card she uses to receive federal disability benefits. The investigation shows multiple fraud charges were made since February by someone unknown. The victim was alerted after she wisely questioned the balance on her credit card. This case is also active and the victim has been provided an Identity Theft Kit.
The moral of the story: Everyone needs to be vigilant to avoid scenarios like these. Don’t let your guard down and become a criminal’s prey.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website—www.myfloridalegal.com—offers plenty of helpful information to educate residents of all ages about scams such as: Coronavirus, Identity Theft, Swindling Sweethearts (Romantic), Stimulus, After the Storm, IRS Imposters, Holiday scams and more.
In addition, Moody issues Consumer Alerts educating the public about the latest scams. To view recent Consumer Alerts, visit MyFloridaLegal.com/ConsumerAlert
Stay safe everyone,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood