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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues April 2022 Scams Update

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens, and to prevent them from becoming victims of scams, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our April 2022 Scams Update.

A victim informed the Sheriff’s Office that she received a call and text from an unknown person. The phone number on the victim’s caller ID showed a number for a bank that she has an account with. The caller asked the victim for the last four numbers of her credit card.

After the victim provided the information, the caller advised that her account was hacked and $4,600.00 was taken out of her account and wire transferred to another account.

“Our recommendation has also been that unless you initiate a call with your financial institution, that you never provide any type of financial account numbers or information,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “Scammers can spoof numbers to make it look like they are calling from any number. If you receive a text like the one the victim received requesting financial account information, it may be a strong indication that someone is attempting to scam you.”

A victim reported to a deputy that she received a text message stating that she had won a sweepstakes with a prize of $120,000 and she replied to it. The victim stated that over a six month period, she kept sending Apple gift card information in order to claim her prize. The amount of money the victim lost was $15,000.

“Scammers love to use many tools in order to steal from a victim,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Scammers love to create a sense of urgency, but they can also create the illusion that a victim is getting something for nothing. In this case, someone can win a lot of money by sending money to cover certain fees or in order to claim a large prize. In the victim’s belief, they are going to make a profit. The only problem is that the victim will not receive their cash prize and the scammers are the only ones that will make the profit. As we have stated, legitimate businesses and organizations will not request payment in the form of gift cards. As we stated in the previous scam, getting a text message like this is a pretty sure sign that it is a scam.”

A deputy spoke with a victim of what appears to be a Sweethearts Scam recently. The victim met someone on a dating app and proceeded to form a relationship. The victim sent money to the person she met, expecting to be paid the money back.

The victim’s Facebook account has been hacked and her name and pictures have been changed. The scammer’s own information was added to the account.

The deputy advised the victim to stop all contact with the scammer.

“As we stated in the previous scam, scammers will use all tools at their disposal in order to steal money or to cause as many problems as they can for a victim,” according to Master Deputy Watt. “People are built for relationships and there are people who are lonely, which makes them vulnerable to sweetheart scams. Our recommendation is not to send money to anyone that you meet on the internet or through social media.”

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