Seniors Today Newspaper
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Scammers Count On Victims To Believe Their Stories: Just DON’T!

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting senior communities in Volusia County where we’ve talked about different kinds of scams that target people—such as grandparents scams, where impostors call and pretend to be someone you know or love who are in trouble, just to steal your money.
Romance scams are where someone you meet online may charm you and eventually trick you into sending them thousands of dollars under some elaborate scheme that sounds legit.
IRS or law enforcement scams the caller will pretend to represent the IRS or law enforcement—they threaten you with arrest, saying you didn’t pay your taxes or you missed jury duty and will be arrested.
It’s so important to be on your guard, both with unknown callers or when you’re communicating online. We’ll keep on discussing these kinds of scams because people—of all ages—still need to learn about scams to watch out for. The schemes may get more sophisticated but people are still falling for them.
Recently, a Volusia County woman in her 70s filed a report with our detectives after she met a man on a dating website. They communicated for some months then met for coffee and continued to talk after the date.
Soon he called her and advised he needed her help to transfer money for a job because he had lost his wallet with his credit cards and cash. This scheme involved this suspect asking our victim to deposit checks and then get a cashier’s check and deposit that into another person’s account. Unfortunately, she complied.
WAIT. STOP: If someone suggests you help them with a crazy plan like this, run. Hang up. Don’t fall for it. Guess what happened? The checks bounced and our victim was out $10,000. Now she’s pursuing criminal charges with our detectives.
WARNING SIGNS: Here are red flag reminders to watch for from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office website ( for romance scams or, as she calls them, Swindling Sweethearts:

  • Romance or sweetheart scams occur when imposters pose as people seeking love on dating sites, social media, or in person to gain trust and ultimately swindle their victims. These imposters may convince their targets that they have common interests or have compatible values and life goals to build an emotional connection. Once they’ve established this connection, scammers:
  • Claim they need money urgently to cover an emergency, deal with a family tragedy, take advantage of a business opportunity, recover from theft or a stolen identity or to travel to finally meet in person; or
  • Convince their victim to open a new bank account, wire stolen funds to it, and then have the victim forward those funds to another account, thereby involving their victim in bank fraud.

These aren’t just dramatic circumstances that happen elsewhere. Unfortunately, residents of Volusia County have been victims. These kinds of scams are very risky for victims of all ages who may be lonely, vulnerable, and prime targets.
Remember, never, ever give your financial information, especially your Social Security number, to anyone you don’t know. If you’re in doubt, ask a trusted family member or friend and do your best not to be intimidated by someone pushy who demands payment or personal information. offers plenty of helpful consumer information including Consumer Alerts And Scams At A Glance.
Of course, if you think you’re a victim of fraud, call our non-emergency phone number, 386. 248.1777 or 911 in an emergency. We’re here to help.

Stay smart and stay safe,
Sheriff Chitwood