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The following are current scams impacting Hernando County citizens along with helpful information to prevent identity theft.
Advance-Fee Loan Scams

Some companies promise you a loan or credit card regardless of your credit history. But they want you to pay a “processing” or other fee first. Those are scams. Learn the telltale signs.

What Is an Advance-Fee Loan Scam?

Do you need to borrow money to make auto repairs, consolidate credit card debt, or pay your mortgage? In an advance-fee loan scam, scammers promise they’ll get you a loan, credit card, or access to credit. Or they say they’ll put you in touch with a lender who can almost certainly get you those things. No matter your credit history. But first, they say, you must pay up front. The scammer may say the money is a fee for “processing,” “insurance,” an “application,” or something else. But it’s a lie. There is no loan and there is no lender. And if you pay, the scammer and your money will disappear.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Legitimate lenders will not promise you a loan or other credit without knowing your credit history, but demand you pay them first..
  • Real lenders can require an application or appraisal fee before they consider your loan application.
  • But nobody legit will tell you that paying a fee guarantees that you’ll get a loan.

Warning Signs of an Advance-Fee Loan Scam

  • Scammers place ads that say you can get credit regardless of your credit history. They may say things like, “Bad credit? No problem,” “No hassle — guaranteed,” or, “We don’t care about your past. You deserve a loan!”
  • Banks and other legitimate lenders won’t promise or guarantee you a loan or credit before you apply. They’ll check your credit report, confirm the information in your application, and decide if they think you’ll repay the loan before giving you a firm offer of credit.
  • Scammers don’t disclose fees before you apply for a loan. Scam lenders may say you’ve been approved for a loan. But then they say you have to pay them before you can get the money. That’s a scam. Any up-front fee that the lender wants to collect before granting the loan is a cue to walk away, especially if you’re told it’s for “insurance,” “processing,” or just “paperwork.”
  • Scammers call, offering loans or other credit. But it’s illegal for telemarketers to promise you a loan or other credit and ask you to pay for it before they deliver. (The Telemarketing Sales Rule says so.)

Protect Yourself

  • Not sure if the lender you’re talking with is legitimate? These steps can help you protect yourself against scammers.
  • Check to see if the lender is registered in your state. Lenders must register where they do business. Contact your state attorney general or banking or financial services regulator to find out if a lender is registered.
  • Search online. Type the company’s name into a search engine with words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
  • Hang up on robocalls. If you pick up the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal. Don’t press 1, 2, or any number to get off a list or speak to a person. That just means you’ll get even more calls.
  • Don’t pay for a promise. Whether someone asks you to pay in advance for a credit card, loan offer, debt relief, mortgage assistance, or a job, walk away. No one legitimate will ever ask you to pay for a promise. If they do, it’s a good bet it’s a scam.
  • Get help dealing with debt. You may have more options than you think. Nonprofit organizations in every state offer credit counseling services that often are free or low cost.

Report Advance-Fee Loan Scams

If you’ve lost money to an advance-fee loan scam, or have information about the company or scammer who called you, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. When you report these con artists, you help law enforcement stop them and alert others in your community to the scam.

Home Rental Scam
Many people throughout our county utilize home rentals. Use caution when seeking a new rental property through social media and Craigslist. A scam we continually see involves contacting an individual that does NOT own a home, but convinces their prospective tenant to send money to them with promises of receiving keys to the property once the contract is signed. Of course, this does not happen and it is later learned that the property “owner” doesn’t exist and has taken the tenants deposit. If looking for a rental home, ensure that you are dealing with the owner. A face to face conversation and a property showing goes a long way to validate this type of transaction. Also, to dispel any suspicion, the Hernando County Property Appraiser maintains an online database of property owners, available to the public, to confirm the owner’s name.
Gift Card Scam
Gift cards are for gifts, NOT PAYMENTS!
Grandparent Scam
Don't Be a Money Mule!
Gift cards are for gifts, NOT PAYMENTS!
Amazon & Apple Account Scam

Scammers are calling people and using the Amazon company name to rip people off.
In one version of the scam, you get a call and a recorded message that says it’s Amazon. The message says there’s something wrong with your account. It could be a suspicious purchase, a lost package, or an order they can’t fulfill.
The scammer says you can conveniently press 1 to speak with someone (how nice of them!). Or they give you a phone number to call. Don’t do either. It’s a scam. They’re trying to steal your personal information, like your account password or your credit card number.
If you get an unexpected call or message about a problem with any of your accounts, hang up.

  • Do not press 1 to speak with customer support
  • Do not call a phone number they gave you
  • Do not give out your personal information

If you think there may actually be a problem with one of your accounts, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real.

Online Puppy Scam
Unemployement Identity Theft
COVID-19 Vaccination Scams
Warning Signs of Identity Theft

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

Clues That Someone Has Stolen Your Information

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

Visit IdentityTheft.gov for more information

Credit Monitoring

Get free credit reports and review them for fraud.

  • Experian
  • TransUnion
  • Equifax

You can get a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

Stay alert for new signs of identity theft and check your credit reports regularly.

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