(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 October 2022 Scams Update.
A deputy spoke with a victim regarding being scammed out of $93,000. The scammer, whom the victim met online, claimed to live in Russia. The scammer and victim also exchanged text messages. The scammer and victim initially met online in December of 2020.
In March of 2021, the scammer asked the victim for money due to his son being hospitalized due to a motor vehicle accident. Money was given to the scammer via gift cards and through bank transfers. The victim says the scammer changes his name frequently while also changing locations in terms of where he lives.
The scammer originally told the victim that he knew her because they had gone to high school together.
“The Sheriff’s Office recommendation is not to provide any money to anyone you meet online,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “We have seen variations on this kind of scam, from a sweetheart scam or someone who needs money for a family emergency. Scammers can be very adept at building online relationships with people. Also, a sure sign of a scam is someone who requests money through some type of prepaid card.”
Our citizens may wonder how scammers obtain personal identifying information and financial account information, when in some cases, that information is not provided to a scammer. On a recent edition of The Deputy podcast, Bailey Parker, from the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, believes that this information is normally found on the Dark Web via security breaches.
“The way that information gets there, I would take a guess of 95% of the time, is through security breaches, “according to Bailey. “So, businesses we are using on a daily basis, whether it is the gas stations or grocery store or even the health care organization you go to, they are victims of security breaches. Hackers, and criminals in general, are targeting these large businesses because they know that they businesses have tons of your personal identifying information.”
When the security breaches happen, according to Bailey, the criminals go on the Dark Web and sell it, or use it for themselves, or do both. Bailey says that says that the reason criminals really like The Dark Web is that criminal activity is much harder to trace as well as the anonymity factor.