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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues May 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 May 2022 Scams Update.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw would like to inform our citizens that the SC Sheriff’s Association has recently started their annual spring Honorary Membership mailings, and this is not a scam.

There are four different types of mailings that are sent out by the Sheriff’s Office Association each year, including Membership Renewals, New Member Acquisitions, Special Appeals and Newsletters. The Honorary Membership Program allows citizens to become Honorary Members of the Sheriff’s Association as an Honorary Individual, Family or Business Member. The SCSA program is a direct mail campaign that consists of several mailings over the year that is sent to citizens across the entire state of South Carolina.

The SC Sheriff’s Association does not use telemarketers to solicit for contributions but does solicit donations via direct mail throughout the year. The letters that are sent out are normally signed by either Jarrod Bruder, Executive Director of the Sheriff’s Office or by York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson, who is the current President of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association.

The money raised through the Sheriff’s Association is used for Critical Training and Education Programs, Research and Assistance in regards to researching various issues that the 46 Sheriff’s throughout South Carolina are facing as well as Legislative Advocacy with the South Carolina General Assembly for stronger laws and the rights of victims of crime and witnesses who assist in prosecuting criminals.

A deputy spoke with a victim of a scam in which the victim said he received a text message from someone claiming to be his boss asking for Apple Gift Cards. The text said that he needed money through Apple Cards due to being in a conference and unavailable to speak over the phone. $600.00 in Apple Card credits was sent.

The scammer continued to ask for more money, which raised the suspicions of the victim. The victim confirmed through his co-workers and his boss that the text was not legitimate. A separate co-worker had also received the message but did not send anything due by contacting his boss.

“We have reported on this type of scam before,” said Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office. “When a situation like this arises, it is best to contact your boss or someone at your place of employment to verify that the request is legitimate. As we have stated previously in the past, if someone is asking for some type of payment, or requesting money via a gift card, automatically presume it is a scam.”

A citizen reported a law enforcement scam to a deputy. The citizen said that he received a call from a separate law enforcement agency regarding a female that he met on a dating app. The caller stated that the citizen was meeting an underage girl and that payment would need to be made to avoid prosecution.

The citizen provided the caller with $1,000 using his bank card.

“Law enforcement will never request money in order to have a warrant recalled, charges dropped or to stop an investigation into an alleged crime,” says Master Deputy Watt. “If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an officer or who represents a law enforcement agency, and a request is made as previously discussed, please hang up the phone, contact your local law enforcement agency to make them aware of this scam and provide as much information as you can.”

The Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of another grandparents scam. In this scam, an Oconee County grandmother received a call from someone stating to be her grandson. The scammer was emotional and claimed he needed $9,000.00 in bail money after being arrested in Columbia.

Due to worry over the emotional state of her supposed grandson, the citizen withdrew money out of her account in order to cover his bail. The citizen then contacted her children, who advised her not to call the number back and then stated that her grandson was not in jail but was on his way to a family gathering.

The deputy obtained the phone number that the scammer was calling from but the call went to voicemail. No personal identifying information or financial account information was compromised.

“As stated previously in our recommendations regarding grandparent scams, if someone calls you and claims to be a family member who is in legal trouble and needs money, please contact other family members to verify that information before you send any money,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Even though deputies are not sure how the scammer obtained the information he did, it may be a good idea to keep certain information private about other family members, especially on social media. Also, we continue to recommend that if you have caller i.d. and do not recognize the number someone is calling from, do not answer the phone as doing so will demonstrate to scammers that your number is a working number.”

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