The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has been receiving a high number of fraud reports generated by a variety of scams targeting people’s money.
These scams have been affecting people of all ages, but many are targeted specifically to go after the senior population.
“Fraudulent schemes may come to you through the mail, through the telephone, through the Internet, in person or some other way,” said DSCO Deputy Chad Teller. “Never underestimate the criminals’ ability to catch you off-guard. ... If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to your instincts and don’t become a victim.”
Examples of schemes the sheriff’s office has been recently include:
• Criminals tricking victims into believing they are a distant relative or grandchild and claiming they are stranded in or were arrested in a foreign country and need money wired to them so they can return to the United States.
• Criminals telling victims they are a member of law enforcement with a warrant for the victim’s arrest, but the victim can avoid being arrested by wiring money to the criminals.
• Criminals informing the victim that they have won the lottery or a sweepstakes, then telling the victim that they need to pay taxes on their winnings before any money gets sent to them. The victim will be asked to wire the money to cover the taxes and may even be sent a fake cashier’s check to help them pay for the taxes.
• Criminals pretending to be from the victim’s bank, credit card company, the Internal Revenue Service, or a utility company and asking for personal information to commit identity theft.
Teller said the sheriff’s office has also became aware of a number of instances where criminals have told victims that they have been paid $10,000 to kill the victim, but would refrain from doing so if the victim wired them $5,000.
“Some of these criminals call several times to develop a trusting relationship with the victim, and then after trust has been developed, they use a scheme to get money from the victim,” Teller said.