By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)——————Individuals who are the target of scams continue to be a huge law concern for law enforcement, and those scams have and can potentially cost its victim’s thousands of dollars.
The Sheriff’s Office has issued press releases in the past regarding scams overall and even some scams that have drawn special merit. The Sheriff’s Office is issuing this press release to remind residents once again of what to be on the lookout for:
1) Scammers tend to target seniors more than any other age groups based on financial stability and the fact seniors tend to be a more trusting generation. Anyone, however, can be the target of scams.
2) Scammers will in many cases use out of country numbers, such as with the 876 area code with individuals on the line having a foreign accent. Many times it is difficult but not impossible for the Sheriff’s Office to prosecute cases and apprehend those involved in which someone calls from out of the country and not from inside Oconee County itself to perpetrate the scam.
3) Fake loan companies roam the internet under the derivative of being a legitimate company, even naming themselves with the name that is similar to a legitimate company.
4) Scammers in many cases want money up front and will continue to ask for more money as the scam continues if you fall prey to it. Some scammers like Western Union or Money Gram because of quickness and availability.
5) Scammers especially love pre-paid cards, like Green Dot cards. Once money is placed on these cards, all the scammer needs is the pin number and once they have that, they can withdraw the money and it is gone.
6) Be wary of any business that wants you to e-mail them personal information, such as to obtain loans. Most businesses will have forms that a person can fill out online.
7) Be wary of anyone who asks for Green Dot Card or any type of prepaid card to pay for fees. A legitimate business is going to have a way to obtain money without going through a middle man.
8) Never give out any personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, or birthdates to anyone who may ask you for that information over the phone or through regular mail or e-mail.
9) Institutions should not ask for your personal information, such as social security numbers and routing and transit numbers, because your personal bank, for example, should have that information. If an individual calls from a bank, for example, and says they need to verify your social security number, you should ask for their name and operating number and then call the bank yourself to see if it is legitimate. The bigger banks will normally recognize the number that you call from and they will then ask you to verify who you are by the last four digits of your social security number or your mailing address or zip code.
10) As always, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel uncomfortable in anyway with an offer you receive or you see some red flags, don’t respond in any way whatsoever or ignore it and don’t respond.
There are two new types of scams that have come to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office. The first one involves someone calling saying that they are with the Internal Revenue Service with information that the person they are calling owes money to the IRS. They then inform the caller that if they do not pay, that they will be arrested, upon which they inform the caller to put money on a Green Dot card in order to settle the account.
If the Internal Revenue Service happens to contact you concerning a tax question, they will contact you by mail instead of calling you directly.
The second scam involves someone calling an individual claiming to be from court. The person being scammed will be notified that they have missed jury duty and will be fined for doing so. The called notified the victim that if they put money on a Green Dot card that the fine would be forgiven and that they would be back in touch to make arrangements to get the money.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents that those selected for jury duty will either receive a letter in the mail or in some cases and jurisdiction’s, a law enforcement officer would deliver a jury summons to the individual’s residence.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county who feel that they are or have been scammed to call the Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111 and ask to speak to an officer and have an officer to come out and for a report to be placed on file. Those who live inside a municipality are asked to call that particular agency for any question or concerns.