Who Can You Trust? Officials Say Con Artists Now Posing as Authorities
HERNANDO – Scammers are everywhere and their unscrupulous deceitful tactics have no boundaries, when it comes to who they target or how they steal your money.
While authorities are busy chasing thieves who place credit card skimmers at gas pumps, your email accounts are under attack by criminals, trying to steal your personal identity or making financial offers that are literally too good to be true.
Officials are now warning citizens of a new form of financial terrorism, where criminals are posing as utility workers or more frightening – law enforcement officers.
RNRF has received dozens of calls from residents, who claim they were approached by individuals claiming to represent utility companies and demanding payment for past due bills. Some have actually paid the fee, only to find out later that the bill was not past due and there was no record of collection attempts.
Yesterday, RNRF received information that a woman was contacted by a “Deputy” and told that she had an active warrant for her arrest. The “Deputy” instructed the woman to draw out a large amount of cash and place the money on gift cards; from there, she was to meet him an undetermined location, where she would turn over the cards to avoid arrest. The woman reported the incident to authorities but the outcome of the incident is unknown.
Later that afternoon, officials released the following statement, warning residents of the latest scam:
The Office of Don Barbee Jr., Clerk of Court and Comptroller warns there have been several reports that Hernando County residents are receiving court notices and jury summonses via e-mail. Some residents are also being contacted via telephone regarding active warrants. These e-mails and phone calls are fraudulent. The scammers tell the victim that he or she has missed jury duty or has other legal issues pending in Florida and must pay money or provide private information or face arrest.
The Office of Don Barbee Jr., Clerk of Court and Comptroller, will never send a jury summons or court notice via e-mail. Deputies, clerks or court officials do not make phone calls of this nature.
Do not open an email attachment from an unfamiliar source and never provide personal information to an unfamiliar source either by phone or email.
Residents should report this fraudulent activity to local authorities immediately. Call the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 754-6830 if you experience this type of activity.
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