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Beware: Scammers Go All Out Stealing Your Money In Online Schemes

Imagine how upset you would feel if you learned your family member be- lieved they won $2.5 million from the Publisher’s Clearing House—and it cost them nearly $30,000 to receive their “earnings.”

What if someone claiming to be from Amazon called your loved one and said their account—and their personal bank account —had been compromised and their money needed to be relocated quickly?

Unfortunately, both of these cases were recently reported to us (June 13, 2022) and our detectives are investigating them. Real-life residents in Volusia County have been hurt by these scams and others.

Our victim in the Publisher’s Clearing House scheme was notified by an unknown female caller that he won $2.5 million. Here’s a red flag: The caller said it would cost the victim $30,000 to receive the full amount. The victim was transferred to a cast of characters, including someone claiming to be the chief financial officer. Each reiterated that the victim must pay using gift cards.

By the time he realized he was being scammed, he had paid almost $26,000. He wants to pursue criminal charges.
In the second case, after being told her Amazon and bank accounts were at risk, the victim was transferred to the fraud de-partment where she was told she might lose all her money unless she moved it from her bank account as directed. Which she did, unfortunately. Another red flag: She was warned not to tell anyone because it might jeopardize the active investigation.

She too is out more than $30,000 and wants to pursue charges.
The criminal minds behind these scams can be very convincing and forceful, even when victims become suspicious. In the Amazon case, one person told our skeptical victim he worked for the Federal Trade Commission and even texted her a copy of his ID card.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website reminds us of the following tips. It’s probably a scam if you receive:

  • Unsolicited calls or emails;
  • High-pressure tactics or too-good-to-be-true offers;• Threat of loss if immediate action isn’t taken and
  • Requests for immediate payment by wire transfer, credit, prepaid debit, or gift cards.

Here are tips to avoid automated robotexts or robocalls from criminals trolling on phones or computers for their victims:
Robotext messages:

  • Don’t Answer Texts from unrecognized numbers or names. Responding to, liking, or clicking on such messages shows the scammer that you’re responsive. You’ll receive more frequent scam messages.
  • Don’t Click On Links in text messages from unknown numbers. They can contain malware or lead to malicious websites that harm your computer or phone.
  • Consider Apps to prevent scam texts from reaching your cell phone. Be sure to research the apps before downloading to make sure the app/s are legitimate.
  • Suspicious text messages from a five- to six-digit short code phone number may be a scam.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you accidentally answer, hang up.
  • Never, provide personal information, account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, or other identifying information to unsolicited callers.
  • If a caller claims to represent a company or government agency and asks for your personal information, hang up! Instead, call the phone number for the company or agency listed on an account statement or on the agency’s website to verify the request is authentic.
  • is a valuable source on the latest scams and fraud prevention.

If you believe you’re a victim of a scam, call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number, 386.248.1777 or 911 in an emergency.

Please stay smart and stay safe,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood