HCSO Sheriff's Office Banner

Telephone Fraud:

 

There are too many telephone scams to list here are a few that we see regularly in Hernando County:

 

BAIL SCAM:  The phone rings and you answer, the voice of the other side calls you “Grandma/Grandpa” (or some other term of endearment).  Most people respond by saying the name of the grandchild that comes to mind or that this scammer sounds like.  The scammer then proceeds to make up some reason that he or she has been arrested.  (Usually minor drug violations or a car accident).  If you become suspicious about the voice they begin to make excuses for why they don’t sound the same (sick, from the accident, etc).  They beg you not to call their mom or dad and request your help getting bail.  99% of the time this arrest occurs in another country.  This scam can vary with someone calling you and identifying themselves as a law enforcement official or someone getting on the phone after you spoke to the person impersonating your grandchild.  They will tell you that you need to wire transfer a specific amount of money for the grandchild to be released.  The money almost always go to another country (Haiti, Jamaica, England, and Nigeria are common).  They will eventually call you back claiming more money is needed to try to scam you further.  When you realize you have been scammed you call your grandchild and/or their parent(s) to learn that they never left the country and are safe at home.

 

The first major RED FLAG should be that you are being requested to send money to a location other than where your child is being held.  HOW CAN THE MONEY BE USED FOR BAIL IF IT NOT SENT DIRECTLY TO THE LAW ENFOCEMENT AGENCY?

 

How can you be certain your grandchild is not in custody?

1)      Ask for the name of law enforcement agency holding your grandchild.

2)      Ask for the name of the law enforcement that you are speaking with.

3)      Ask for the address that he/she is being held.

4)      Ask for the phone number to contact them back.

5)      Use the Internet or 411 to locate the law enforcement agency, then call the number ONLY THE NUMBER YOU FOUND, NOT THE NUMBER THEY PROVIDED YOU and speak with someone at the REAL law enforcement agency.  They will be able to confirm that you are being scammed!

 

DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM MAKE SURE YOU ARE AWARE OF THESE SCAMS AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH ANYONE THAT WILL LISTEN!

 

LOTTERY SCAMS: Common sense! You have to play to win, how can you win the Nigerian, Canadian, Spanish or any other lottery if you have never been there and/or have never played?

 

MAJOR RED FLAGS: 

1)      If you won a large sum of money why would you have to pay (taxes, international transfer fees, wire transfer fees, duty, or any other of the pretend expenses they ask you to pay) before you can collect your prize?  Tell them to take the fees out of your winnings and send you the remainder!

2)      Once you pay the money they suddenly forgot about another charge you have to pay, and after you pay that they come up with another.  They will milk you for every dollar you are willing to pay.  Then they disappear and you call the police.  The problem is you wired all the money outside of the USA! We have no jurisdiction and there is NOTHING we can do to help you.

3)      If they ask for your bank account, routing number and/or credit card numbers so they “direct deposit” the money DO NOT give them that information or any other personal identification information.  They can use the information you provide to drain your account(s) and then it is up to you to explain to the bank that you provided the information to an unknown person.  The bank is NOT required to give you back your money if you willingly provide your information in these cases!

4)      If this scam came in an e-mail PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to the grammar.  These are usually uneducated scammers from countries that do not speak English or understand the concept of grammar.  The e-mail itself is a clue that you are being scammed.  Do you think they would have some uneducated person sending out horribly written e-mails to inform and instruct you on high dollar winnings?  NO! 

5)      Don’t let your greed and willingness to think you have received something for nothing cloud your judgment.  Of course we would all love to win millions of dollars and live the easy life.  If you look around and realize that it does not happen that easily you would be more skeptical and realize that you are being scammed! 

 

THE MORE WE STOP FALLING FOR THESE SCAMS THE MORE LIKELY WE ARE TO FORCE THESE SCAMMERS TO GET A JOB!, AND HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING LIKE A PRODUCTIVE CITIZEN!  THE MORE WE FALL THESE SCAMS THE MORE THESE SCAMMERS WILL TARGET AMERICANS!

 

THE BEST WAY TO STOP THESE SCAMMERS IS EDUCATE YOUR FRIENDS, RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS!

 

Inheritance scam:  This is not as common as it used to be but use common sense.  If you had a filthy rich relative you probably would have known this at some point during your life.  The majority of times this scam is played out the person contacting you is in a foreign country and claims your relative died in that country.

 

Just because you die outside of the USA does not convert all of your assets to that country.  Anyone wealthy, normally, has a will and the assets are primarily in the USA.  This would make it impossible for a subject in another country to distribute an American citizen.  These scams require you to either provide your personal identification information and financial information for deposit (which instead ends up in a withdrawal).  The other part requires you to pay for various bogus fees to collect your inheritance.  If you tell them to take the fees out of your inheritance they will usually stop calling and move on to other EASIER targets.  This scam again requires education to prevent people from falling victim. 

 

TELEPHONE SCAMMING TECHNIQUES

 

IN ALL SCAMS CONCEALING WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU ARE IN VITAL!

 

THE USE OF INTERNET PHONES (AKA: VOIP) PRIMARILY MAGIC JACK MAKES YOUR SCAMMER APPEAR TO BE CALLING FROM WITHIN THE USA OR EVEN THE SAME TOWN OR NEARBY TOWN.

 

THIS PART OF THE SCAM CAN ALSO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY CALLER ID SPOOFING.  THIS IS THE USE OF SOFTWARE THAT ALLOWS A SCAMMER TO CHANGE HIS/HER CALLER ID TO BE ANYTHNG THEY WANT IT TO BE:

In the past this procedure has been done to appear that a law enforcement officer is calling you, your actual bank is calling you, a relative is calling you, etc. (the possibilities are endless).  The easy way to check on a suspected “call spoof”, is to hang up and call the number back.  BE CAREFUL if the number is not “spoofed” you will be calling the suspect back.  The best way to confirm the number is by using the phone book, Internet and/or 411.  The other problems are that scammers are sometimes able to remotely activate “call forward” and calling an actual number can still end up putting you in contact with a suspect.  This all comes down to clear indication that you can’t trust anyone over the phone and/or Internet.

 

CALLER ID SPOOFING HAS BEEN OUTLAWED IN FLORIDA AND GUESS WHAT? THE SCAMMERS ARE USUALLY IN ANOTHER COUNTRY SO THEY DON’T CARE THAT IT IS AGAINST LAW BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT BE ARRESTED AND THE SCAMS THEY COMMIT ARE JUST AS ILLEGAL!

 

MEDICAL FRAUD: This scam is fairly new and takes many forms.  The common variable is to call you advising that you are entitled to a refund.  The reason varies however there has been mention of Government Grants, Medicare/Medicaid refund, Authorization through new Presidential policies, etc.  In this scam they can sometimes have your personal identification information.  They will tell you the information in an attempt to convince you that they have your medical records.  They will attempt to get you to provide your financial information in order for them to process a refund of, usually thousands of dollars, directly into the account you provide.  They will sometimes refer to a visit to a hospital that you had in the past.  In elderly citizens this can be fairly easy part of the scam because it is not uncommon to have had even a minor procedure or issue that required a visit to a hospital.  Once this information is provided YOU will feel like the person is legitimate and if let your guard down and provide information you WILL BE VICTIMIZED.  Ask them specific questions about your medical history and DO NOT provide the answers to them.  If they know the answer DO NOT believe them and DO NOT provide any information.  Contact your doctor and/or the hospital that you had recently used and ask them about the alleged refund.  Insist that the caller meet with you in person at the Hospital and/or Dr’s office to complete any refunds.  Insist that they mail you a check to the information that they have one file WITHOUT providing them with any information.   

 

THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE POTENTIAL SCAMS OCCURRING IN HERNANDO COUNTY. 

SCAMMERS VARY AND CHANGE THEIR TACTICS AS PEOPLE BECOME AWARE.  THEY CHANGE AND DEVELOP NEW SCAMS EVERY DAY TO TRY TO GET YOU TO PART WITH YOUR MONEY, AND/OR PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION!

 

YOU MUST RESIST THE TEMPTATION AND LURE OF EASY MONEY IN ORDER TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY AND YOUR FINANCES!

 

YOU WORKED HARD FOR YOUR MONEY SO DON’T MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO SCAM YOU OUT OF IT!

 

REMEMBER:

IF IT SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!

 
FLE Accreditation Site HCSO Web Footer