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Be Suspicious, Vigilant To Avoid Falling Victim To Impostor Scams

Just when you think you’ve heard about every heinous way scammers swindle people out of their money, along comes another one.

Recently, a Volusia County resident re-ported being scammed out of $40,000 after she received an e-mail supposedly from Paypal—a well-known company whose app is used to send and receive money globally. The e-mail warned her that her bank accounts were being hacked and that she should cooperate to protect her money.

It’s no wonder people are intimidated, alarmed, and confused when receiving such messages from criminals.

In this scam, the victim is directed to pay impostors thousands of dollars to protect their money from bad guys. The crooks are the ones who lure the victims in the first place, via emails, phone calls, or text messages. Don’t fall for it.

In this case, our victim wire-transferred money three separate times before realizing she was being scammed and stopped communicating with the suspects. She closed her bank accounts.

The headache didn’t stop there: Next she received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that a tax return was filed in her name. She contacted the IRS and refuted the claim. She also contacted her credit agencies and froze her credit.

The victim believes her personal identity and financial information have been compromised. She is pursuing charges through my VSO detectives’ investigation. It’s an active criminal investigation.

We all have to remain vigilant, suspicious, and distrusting when we receive e-mails, calls, or text messages warning us. Victims regularly lose their hard-earned money to criminals who pretend to be legitimate companies, government agencies—even law enforcement agencies like the Volusia Sheriff’s Office—threatening your arrest if an unpaid fine isn’t paid or you’ve supposedly missed jury duty.
Remember: Legitimate companies, government agencies, and law enforcement don’t operate this way. They won’t call, e-mail, or text you and demand money—only a scammer will do that.

Tips: Here are some important tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Don’t trust caller ID—while a call may show the government agency’s real phone number or name, scammers can spoof (use deception to appear as another person or source of information) the caller information.
  • Don’t wire money or use gift cards, cryptocurrency, or a payment app to pay someone you don’t know who claims to be from the government.
  • If you’re in doubt about whether a call is from a government agency, hang up, and call the office directly.
  • Don’t click on links in unexpected e-mails, texts, or social media messages that claim to be from a government agency.

To report any kind of scam, visit the Attorney General’s Office at: MyFlorida Legal. com Or contact Seniors Vs. Crime, a very helpful resource right here in Volusia County whose goal is to reduce victimization of seniors. (You don’t have to be a senior to qualify for help. This volunteer program helps adults of all ages, in all 67 Florida counties.)

To Contact Seniors Vs. Crime:

  • E-mail: *E-mailing may get the quickest response.
  • Website:
  • Phone: 1.800.203.3099; or 407.537.9509.

If you have received a communication from a possible scammer, first talk to a trusted friend or family member about it. Call our non- emergency number at the Sheriff’s Communications Center: 386.248.1777 or 911 in an emergency. We’re always glad to help.

Please share this important information with a friend.

Stay smart and stay safe,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood