Seniors Today Newspaper
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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True … Pay Attention!

Recently, one of our deputies began investigating after a female resident of our county complained that she was a victim of fraud: She’d received several phone calls from a man who told her she won $50,000 and a new car.

The problem was, the caller told the victim she would have to verify her Social Security number and bank account information to collect her winnings.

She complied and the next day the man called her again. This time he requested she pay him $1,100—in the form of gift cards, so she could receive the cash and the car. She purchased three cards—two for $500 and one for $100—and called the man back with the cards’ information —but it didn’t stop there.

Since that incident in early February, the man has called the victim multiple times: Like 40-50 times a day, using two other phone numbers, trying to further scam her out of her money.

Thankfully she realized she was being victimized and reported it to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. She wants to pursue criminal charges. So does her son, who lives near his mom. We are actively investigating.

This kind of victimizing continues to happen to unsuspecting victims of all ages. I’m not writing this to frighten anyone. Such scams can happen easily and quickly, especially to our most vulnerable citizens, and can be costly financially. I want you to protect yourselves from such criminals.

Here are some important tips:

  • If someone calls and you don’t recognize their name or phone number, hang up, or don’t answer in the first place. They can leave a message.
  • Never, ever provide your personal or financial information such as your Social Security number or banking information, especially to a stranger over the phone.
  • Stay vigilant: If someone calls, texts, or e-mails you with an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If they tell you that you have to pay them, hang up. Hang up. Hang up!
  • Gift cards: If a stranger instructs you to buy gift cards, don’t fall for it. Gift cards are meant for you to give someone a gift, not to become a crime victim.
  • Be suspicious if someone calls and says they’re from the IRS or a police department or sheriff’s office and they’ll arrest you if you don’t pay a fine, hang up. It’s a scam and we don’t operate that way.
  • If a stranger asks to enter your house, such as for the purpose of checking something or even to use the restroom, say no. This also could be a ruse to get into your home to steal your purse or wallet. (Sometimes they travel in pairs; one person distracts you at the front door and the other goes around to the back of your home to enter without your permission). Just be aware.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website ( is a great source of information to help you learn more about all kinds of online scams, from dating to applying for jobs to buying or renting homes online.
It contains helpful features called Scams At A Glance And Consumer Alert. Scams at a Glance is a fraud prevention tool to bolster consumers’ knowledge about common scam tactics. To view Consumer Alerts, visit My To re-port fraud or file a complaint, visit or call 1.866.9NO.SCAM (866.966.7226).
Share this important information with your family and friends as well.

If you encounter a caller or someone who contacts you online and you’re unsure whether it’s a scam, talk to a trusted friend or family member and get their advice.

If you think you may be a victim of a crime, call us! Call the Volusia Sheriff’s Office non emergency line: 386.248.1777 or 911 in an emergency. We’re here to help.

Stay safe and stay smart,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood