This is the time of year when we’re thankful—for our health and that of our families and friends, and our many blessings, including the amazing men and women of the Volusia Sheriff’s Office who are committed to protecting our community year-round.
As another year of challenges winds down, I’m ready for the holidays and taking time to enjoy those who mean the most.
Being in the holiday spirit doesn’t mean letting down your guard. Scammers will continue to come up with creative ways to steal your hard-earned money—both on-line and during your holiday activities where criminals are watching for opportunities to strike.
It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings: Make note of anyone suspicious, whether you’re in parking lots or walking in crowded areas. Thieves are looking for victims who appear vulnerable or distracted. Be sure to take that extra minute to remove your valuables from your vehicle, lock the vehicle and take the keys, and park in a well-lit area when possible.
This holiday season, I’d like to remind everyone about being vigilant to avoid these scams while you’re spending time online chatting or shopping. In spite of all the amazing benefits of the Internet, you’ve got to stay mindful of the risks, too.
Tips: To avoid falling victim to common cyber scams, practice these habits:
If you believe you have become the victim of a fraud, go online to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website, www.MyFloridaLegal.com or call 866. 966.7226 to file a complaint. The site also offers lots of information about being proactive and cybersecurity.
Seniors Vs. Crime Help: In Volusia County, we have a Seniors versus Crime team also known as Sleuths. This group is made up of senior volunteers as part of a special project of the Florida Attorney General. This program is located in South Daytona. It can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t Fall For Trick Calls: Never give your personal information or computer access to anyone who calls, e-mails, or texts you that you don’t know. Banks, government and law enforcement officials, and medical facilities won’t call seeking your personal information, or demand you pay them money.
Scam artists will, and they’re looking for trusting individuals who might not question their motives. Usually they want you to go purchase gift cards to pay them —that’s a sure sign of a scam, but it’s not the only sign.
Family Member In Trouble Fraud: They’ll also use fake charities and other harmless-sounding tricks to target seniors over the holidays. They’ll even call you claiming a family member, such as a grandchild, is in jail and needs you to bail them out. Don’t be surprised if you get one of these calls, texts, or voicemails. They’ll send out thousands of them just to find one person who makes the mistake of trusting them. Don’t fall for it!
The good news is we’re here for you, and the resources above will help you avoid the trouble that can turn any day into a headache. Call our non-emergency dispatch number 386.248.1777, or 911 in an emergency.
Wishing you and
yours a happy and
healthy holiday season!
Sheriff Mike Chitwood