(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 February 2022 Scams Update.
A deputy spoke with two individuals, who both came by the Sheriff’s Office, in regards to a phone call that both of them received from someone named Lt. Johnson from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. One of the individuals stated that he was told that he had an arrest warrant due to the fact that he had not provided his DNA.
The called told the man that the warrant could be recalled, and fines taken care of, for $5,000. After being told by the man that he could not pay that amount, the scammer said he would accept $1,200. There is no indication that money was even exchanged.
“As we have discussed in previous scam updates, legitimate law enforcement officers will not accept payment to have a warrant recalled or to drop any lawfully obtained charges,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office. “Also, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office does not have an employee by the name of Lt. Johnson.”
A victim made deputies aware of a loss of $11,500 due to a grandparents scam. The victim stated that she received a call from someone claiming to be her grandson. The caller stated that they had been in an accident in Florida and they needed bail money due to an arrest.
The victim sent $6,500.00 in cash to an address in Tampa, FL. The caller asked the victim to send the payment in cash as a payment in any other form would result in a delay of her grandson being released from jail. The caller also asked the victim to not inform their parent of the circumstances.
The next day, the victim was contacted by someone claiming to be the grandson’s Attorney. The Attorney stated that an additional $5,000 was needed to cover court fines set the Judge. The victim sent the additional money in cash to a separate address in Tampa.
The scammers attempted to get additional money out of the victim in regards to medical costs. After realizing that she had been scammed, she contacted her grandson’s mother. The mother confirmed that the victim’s grandson had not been anywhere near Tampa, that the grandson was in good health and that the grandson was currently staying with her.
“In relation to Grandparents scams, we have advised previously that if you receive a phone call from a family member who says that they are in legal trouble, and they ask for money, hang up the phone and contact another family member to verify if that family member is indeed in legal trouble,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Scammers will use a sense of urgency, or play with someone’s emotions, in order to illicit a reaction which causes the victim to make a decision that maybe they would not otherwise make. In this case, the scammers played on the emotions of family involving a Grandparent and who they thought was their Grandchild who was in legal trouble.”
A deputy was made aware of a scam by a victim who said that she had received phone calls from someone claiming to be from the PayPal fraud department. The calls concerned questionable charges and wanted the victim’s help in fixing the issue.
In the course of the conversations, the victim provided financial and other account information. The victim told the deputy that she is now missing around $10,000. The victim contacted her financial institutions and had all the accounts closed that were involved in the scam.
“I am not 100% sure if this victim had any business connections with PayPal, but regardless, the Sheriff’s Office has always advised our citizens never to provide any type of financial account or personal identifying information to anyone that calls you at random on the phone,” says Master Deputy Watt. “If you have a business relationship with an organization, they already should have any financial account information or personal identifying information that you have provided them when you started that relationship. Therefore, you should not have to provide that information to them.”