May 4, 2016

Two more scams reported

The Sheriff’s Office had two more different types of scams reported Tuesday and would like to make everyone aware so they do not fall victim to these fraudsters.

An Islamorada woman called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night to report being scammed by someone she believed worked for a legitimate loan company.

The 60 year old victim said she was trying to obtain a loan from a company called “Easy Loans”. She said a representative called and agreed to give her a $3,000 loan. He told her he deposited money into her bank account and asked her, in return, to purchase Apple ITunes cards and send him the card numbers, which she did. He called her again and told her in order to get the rest of the loan, she needed to send him more of the ITunes cards. She agreed and sent him part of what he was asking for; but when she started to ask questions about the legitimacy of the deal he was offering her, he began to threaten her. He said he would put her bank account in a negative balance, call her employer and have her arrested.

She realized she had been scammed at that point, and called to report it.

An elderly man in Marathon called the Sheriff’s Office to report receiving information he believed was a scam in the mail. Fortunately, he brought the information to the Sheriff’s Office before being victimized.

He received a “Mystery Shopper” letter in the mail, along with a check for almost $2,000 that appeared to be real. The letter instructed him to deposit the check into his bank account, then to email a copy of the deposit slip afterward. His mission: to “evaluate MoneyGram Services” at a local outlet.

The letter instructs him to go to a local MoneyGram store and make two cash transfers to two separate addresses. The letter very specifically tells him not to tell anyone what he is doing. If this man had complied with the all the instructions in the letter he received, the scammers would have had all of his personal bank account information and they would have had access to all of his funds.

If you receive information in the mail, via email or if someone calls you and you have any question about the validity of the information, take a few minutes to call a relative, a friend, or the Sheriff’s Office. Scammers will often use personal information about you to convince you they are legitimate – they might have your address, phone number, names and addresses of relatives. They will try to rush you into action – they don’t want you to have time to consult anyone. They use high pressure tactics and, if you are on the phone with you they will try to keep you on the phone until the scam is complete. Like the Mystery Shopper scam, they will give you all kinds of reasons why you should not talk to anyone about the situation.

Many scams incorporate some type of cash cards – green dot cards, gift cards – because that is a quick way for you to send them cash and, once they have the card number, the money is theirs and is virtually untraceable.  Many scammers will tell you they are sending you a check for a large amount and want you to send money in the form of gift cards or a money gram back to them after you deposit the check. They know a check takes a few days to clear at a bank and by the time you find out their check is fake, they will be gone with your money.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is approving a loan you know you probably don’t qualify for, ask yourself why they are doing it? If they are rushing you to do something, ask yourself “Why are they in a hurry?” and take the time to stop and think.

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