This week's topic is scams and identity fraud. Scams are something that we at the sheriff's office deal with on a regular basis. Scams come in all shapes and sizes. Scams are sent via text, email, and phone calls. Scams can originate internationally or even locally.
Please be aware that law enforcement will not contact you by any other means except mail and personal service. It is the same for Publisher's Clearing House and the IRS. Please speak with your family, friends, and even your local law enforcement before sending strangers money through transfers or other avenues. Make sure that you pay attention to the spending habits of loved ones we look after. Scammers will solicit money from them by coercion, trying to get them to do something that they really don't want to do, threaten them by telling them they will be arrested or harmed if they don't comply with their demands, and unrealistic expectations saying they will get more if they pay more.
Identity fraud is unfortunately becoming more and more common. Most local scams dealing with identity fraud involve stolen or forged checks that may be stolen out of mailboxes or found while dumpster diving. Other local incidents are those that come from deals or agreements made that never make it to the finished product stage. For example, someone comes and does yard work; you both have agreed upon a price. The worker never completes the job and wants the money or does the job then jacks up the price. Other scams deal with identity theft where someone uses your name or other pertinent information about you to obtain money or items in your name, never to pay for the items leaving you responsible for the bill. Always check your bank account, bank statements, or credit reports to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases applied to your accounts. If you see any irregularities on your account or credit report and believe it's fraud, please contact the company and the sheriff's office for a report.