Sheriff: Scam Artists Hitting Local Residents
Phone and Internet being used to lure thousands away from unsuspecting victims.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department issued a "scam alert" today, warning that there are reports of residents being victimized by people using Craigslist and Careerbuilder.com websites to lure victims.
Sheriff Leon Lott said that, using the phone and Internet, criminals are having victims send money to Nigeria, Jamaica, South Africa, and other locations within the state.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has received calls of suspects taking money under false pretenses, for example:
In a press release, Lott provided these recent examples:
- On March 19, at 7320 Broad River Road, the victim, a 90-year-old woman, states that she talked to a man who she thought was her grandson. The suspect stated that he needed $3,500 to get out of jail. The victim wired the money to Pennsylvania only to find out later that it wasn’t her grandson. The victim doesn’t know who received the money.
- On March 9, at 10136 Two Notch Road, the victim received a call asking her to be a “secret shopper” for a fictitious company with a promise of earning money for her efforts. The victim was asked to send money to them in good faith and that she would be sent money orders in return. The victim did receive two money orders totaling $990.36 from the scam artist that she placed in her Wells Fargo account. After making purchases and charging it to her account, the victim soon realized that the money orders were fake and her account was overdrawn by $1,676.
Lott cautions that if you receive emails, calls, or letters do not reply, not even to say no. Once scammers get a reply, they will send more unwanted messages.
Lott offered these tips in the release:
- If you get a call from a scammer, hang up.
- Do not give out any personal information like your address or ‘confirm’ details like your bank account number.
- If you answer your door to a salesperson, ask to see their ID.
- Check the company name online, and call the company to check that the person works there.
- If you have lost money to a scam, report it to law enforcement immediately.
- Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is.
You can check with the Department of Consumer Affairs if you have any doubt of offers or solicitation of your money at (800) 922-1594.
Lott asks that anyone with information about those who may be taking advantage of unsuspecting citizens should call, e-mail or text your anonymous tip to: CRIMESTOPPERS, 1-888-CRIME-SC, www.crimestoppers.com, text "TIPSC" plus your message to CRIMES (274637).