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Savvy Scammers

In recent months I’ve been visiting different senior groups to deliver an important message: Online scammers are working hard to escalate their schemes. You can learn how to avoid falling victim to them.

We continue to see fraud cases countywide, I’m writing to remind everyone to be suspicious of phone calls, e-mails, or texts that lure unsuspecting people —of all ages—into thinking there’s a problem. That’s how these scams work. Victims are directed to send money to correct the alleged issue. Don’t fall for it!

Common Types of Scams:

  • An impostor alerts you that you have a computer virus and provides a phone number to a technician, who is really a criminal trying to get you to send money, either electronically or through a cash app, or you’re directed to purchase gift cards and provide access numbers;
  • Someone pretends to represent a law enforcement agency, yes, including ours, and threatens you with arrest saying you missed jury duty or owe a fine. (No respectable law enforcement agency or any organization operates this way. Ever).
  • Grandparents Scam: Someone calls you with a scary story that your young family member has been in an accident and is going to jail unless you send thousands of dollars to bail them out.
  • Problem With Your Account: Yet another impostor claims to be from a bank or other financial institution and tells you to deposit money because someone compromised your account.

For example: A Deltona resident recently called us to report she had been scammed out of nearly $20,000. It began as an e-mail scam, then turned into telephone contact in which she was instructed to download apps onto her phone. She was also directed to deposit money into a Bitcoin machine.
This unfortunate scenario happened because she was alerted about a suspicious transaction in one of her accounts and of course wanted to correct it.

Resources To Help:

  • Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has great consumer information on her website to help prevent these types of crimes. It’s worth checking out at www: myfloridalegal.com
  • Seniors Vs. Crime: This is a very helpful resource right here in Volusia County whose main goal is to prevent or reduce victimization of seniors who are targeted for specific crimes because of their age. It’s not a law enforcement agency, but can help you. *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. They meet with clients on Thursdays at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in South Daytona.

To Contact Seniors Vs. Crime:

  • E-mail: volusia@SVCproject.org **E-mailing may prompt the quickest response.
  • Website: www.seniorsvscrime.com
  • Phone: 800.203.3099 or 407.537.9509.

Tips To Avoid Becoming A Victim:

  • Don’t feel pressured when a stranger calls or e-mails you. There’s no decision so important that you can’t take time to ask for a phone number and tell them you’ll call them back. (That’s when you call a trusted friend, family member, or the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number: 386.248.1777.)
  • If you don’t recognize a caller’s phone number, Don’t answer.
  • When you buy something, keep the paperwork or a signed copy of a contract you’ve signed. That will help volunteers work on your behalf.
  • Don’t be quick to click! If you’re being led to click on a link or attachment, Don’t do it. Instead, look up the website yourself; don’t rely on a link because it can be fake, misleading, or a scam.
  • When you look up your account on your phone or computer and the computer automatically asks if you want to save your password, don’t. (Instead, keep your password written safely in a book that you keep with you).

Otherwise, anyone who uses your computer has access to your passwords. That’s one way ID theft begins.
Remember that legitimate entities won’t call you out of the blue and demand money for missing jury duty, or to bail out a relative, or to fix a computer virus, or to stop identity theft, or any other fake scheme.

These scammers have a lot of practice swindling victims out of their money. They’ll pressure you for information and payment, especially via gift cards and Bitcoin deposits. Just hang up!

Please share this information with your family or friends who need to know how to protect themselves from scammers.