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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues March 2023 Scams Update

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens, and to prevent them from becoming victims of a scam, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our March 2023 Scams Update.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office were alerted after a man attempted to cash two checks, in the amounts of $4,000 and $3,500 respectively, at branches of a bank. An employee of the bank requested that a deputy conduct a welfare check on the holder of the account.

A deputy spoke with the account holder, and a family member, who stated that a man arrived at their home. The man stated that he had to get rid of some excess asphalt and provided a quote of a few hundred dollars. An agreement was reached and the job was completed. After the job was done, the man presented an invoice for $6,400.00.

The family member wrote checks to pay for the invoice.

“We have reported on these type scams before in which someone comes to a residence offering to do some type of work. In many cases, the work ends up being substandard,” says Master Patrol Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “A very important point to keep in mind is that when you make an agreement with someone to do work, and money is exchanged, and some or all of the work is completed, and there is a problem, it will more than likely turn out that it will need to be settled as a civil issue, and not a criminal issue, if you can locate the person who did the work for you to be able to serve them with papers to appear in court.”

“Our recommendation is never to allow anyone who shows up to your house unexpectedly to do any type of work for you,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Only allow contractors, who are licensed and bonded, to do any type of work for you on your home or property. It may also be helpful to get a recommendation from a family member or friend regarding a contractor and to choose a local contractor as well.”

A deputy spoke with a victim who stated that he made an investment into Crypto Currency through an app. The victim invested $80.00 and the return on his investment was deposited into his account.

About a week later, he invested a greater amount, $5,000, through a third party website. The victim stated to the deputy that he did not receive any money back into his account.

“We have also reported on what appears to be investment type scams before,” according to Master Deputy Watt. “Our recommendation is that if you are looking to do some investing, or need some investment advice, to contact a Certified Investment Advisor or Planner who can create a plan, manage your investments, create a portfolio for you, and advise you of any risks. Never accept or make any investments through a third party website or an app.”

A family member of a victim reported to the Sheriff’s Office that the victim had been scammed out of $700 dollars in a sweepstakes scam. The victim had been receiving calls from someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House.

The scammer convinced the victim to buy several gift cards for a chance to win more money from the sweepstakes. The family member observed transactions in regards to the withdrawing of money on three occasions in February of this year.

“There are several red flags that can be seen in this particular scams,” says Master Deputy Watt. “First, in order to win a sweepstakes, you have to enter a sweepstakes. If someone calls you and tells you that you have won a sweepstakes, without you entering that sweepstakes, presume that it is a scam.”

“Secondly, if someone asks you to make any form of payment using a gift card, consider that request to be part of a scam too,” according to Master Deputy Watt. “In this case, the enticement was to possibly win more money by using gift cards. Always remember as well that if something sounds too good to be true, more often than not it is.”

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