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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues November 2021 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 November 2021 Scams Update.

A deputy was contacted by a victim who received notification from Amazon, thanking him for purchasing an ICloud account. The victim called a number provided in the notification and was told that a fraudulent account had been opened in his name. The contact told the victim that in order to clear the account that he would need to purchase some gift cards in order to make a payment.

The victim purchased some gift cards and provided the numbers over the telephone to the contact. The victim told the deputy that he transmitted approximately $9,000 total. No personal identifying information was provided by the victim and two cards that were used to purchase the gift cards were cancelled.

In a similar type scam, a deputy spoke with a victim who stated that she received an e-mail from someone claiming to be from a technology company. The e-mail said that the victim’s account had been hacked and that an amount of $1,499.99 had been charged to the account. The e-mail listed a contact phone number and the victim called the number. The contact told the victim that she needed to purchase some gift cards and then to supply the card numbers over the phone.

After purchasing the initial set of gift cards and supplying the information on the cards, the victim was contacted again due to reported several fraudulent e-mails on her account. The contact person advised her to purchase more gift cards. The cards were purchased and the numbers on the cards were supplied.

In all, the victim told the deputy that she spent $27,000 on the cards. The victim did not supply any personal identifying information and the victim cancelled all of her personal credit cards.

“Scammers use many tricks in order to cheat their victims,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “Sometimes that involves creating a sense of urgency, for example. However, scammers can create complicated situations that are often confusing to victims.”

“We always recommend not to click on and download attachments in e-mail’s, however, we also recommend not replying to any e-mail’s and/or not calling contact phone numbers in the body of an e-mail to respond to someone who has e-mailed you, as this information may not be accurate for an otherwise legitimate business,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt. “Scammer can make e-mail’s look very legitimate. We would only recommend initiating contact with someone who sent you an e-mail only if you initiate and make contact personal contact first with that company or business.”

“However, with all that being said, one of the biggest tricks that scammers use is to ask for payment using prepaid cards,” according to Master Deputy Watt. “Legitimate businesses will not ask for payment using a prepaid card. If someone claiming to be from a business or organization asks for payment using this method, you can presume about 100% of the time that it is a scam. Do not send anyone a payment using a prepaid card.”

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