Between Facebook Marketplace, Zelle, and even traditional phone calls – scammers are preying on Florida residents.
With no end in sight when it comes to these meticulously thought-out scams, several sheriff's offices in Florida have issued fraud alerts hoping to bring awareness to a problem that has plagued people locally and internationally.
In a recent Facebook post, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office warned residents about scams encouraging people to send cryptocurrency to repair computer viruses. Other scams involve someone "representing a government agency or law enforcement organization call and request" that the person provides cryptocurrency to satisfy a warrant, a fine, or to post a bond for a relative in jail or prison.
Fake check scams
The Orange County Sheriff's Office issued another popular scam alert that involves fake checks.
Here's how the scam works:
1. You sell an item for $200
2. A buyer sends you a check for "$500"
3. You deposit the check, return the difference of $300, and ship your item.
A couple of weeks later, the bank tells you the check was fake and takes $500 out of the account.
So, not only did you lose the item you were selling, but you also lost $300.
Scam phone calls
Florida residents across several counties have reported that they've fallen victim to phone call scams.
Most recently, the Lee County Sheriff's Department along with the Ocala Police Department have alerted residents about scammers posing as law enforcement officers.
Ocala police said they received calls where a scammer told a resident they missed a jury subpoena and now have an active warrant for their arrest.
During one incident the scammer told a resident to meet them at the Ocala Police Department to pay $2,000 in cash to "clear the warrant or else they would be arrested."
The person agreed and about 10 minutes later, the scammer called back and requested the person go to CVS and get a prepaid card and use that to pay the $2,000. The resident realized then that it was a scam.
Some of the scam numbers can be altered and manipulated to manually generate fictitious caller identification numbers similar to the law enforcement departments. These numbers confuse residents because they appear to have originated from an actual police department.
Some of the most popular phrases scammers use include:
"You missed jury duty"
"You have a warrant"
"You need to post bail"
"This fine is past due"
"Pay up or else"
UPS package scam
The holiday season is the perfect breeding ground for scammers.
A nationwide UPS package delivery scam is making its way to cell phones.
The scam involves residents receiving an email about their package that is pending delivery.
The email requests the person "verify" their address by clicking a link. The email comes from a bogus UPS email.
Here's what to do to avoid being scammed
If someone has contacted you by phone, and you think it's a scam – hang up immediately.
Also, contact your local law enforcement agency to report the scam.
Don't accept mobile payments from someone you don't know.
Double-check the sender's email address.