(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 January 2024 Scams Update.
A victim spoke with a Deputy at the Sheriff’s Office to report a fundraising scam. The victim stated that he received a call from someone claiming to be from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. The victim stated the caller asked if he wanted to donate money in order to support Corporal Lucas Watts.
The victim agreed and the call was transferred to another person who took the victim’s debit card information. The victim contacted his bank and cancelled his debit card due to the fact that he was not sure if the call was a scam or not. After speaking with a family member, the victim contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
“The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office will never cold call anyone to request a donation on behalf of Corporal Watts and his family,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office asking if you would like to make a donation to Corporal Watts, hang up the phone, it is a scam. Donations are continuing to be accepted for Lucas and his family via Serve and Connect at the following address site:
Also, do not provide any type of credit or debit card information or numbers over the phone if you did not initiate the phone call and it is someone that you do not typically do business with.”
The Sheriff’s Office also received a report of a law enforcement scam in which a victim received a call from a “Lt. James Wilson” with the Sheriff’s Office. The victim was told that she had warrants due to a failure to appear for jury duty in a federal court case.
The caller told the victim that she would be arrested, but the victim could “post her bond” to avoid being arrested. The victim as instructed to go to a business upon which she would be provided an access code in order to send $3,500.00 via an ATM. The victim made the payment, which was in bitcoin.
“We reported on this scam in a separate release this week,” says Master Deputy Watt. “In the scam in this particular report, the Sheriff’s Office does not have an employee named James Wilson. In the release we issued this week, we reported that actual names of employees at the Sheriff’s Office were used. In the release from earlier this week, we issued some recommendations to help everyone avoid being a victim of a law enforcement scam. We want to share those again in this release:”
· One of the main weapons of scammers is to create a sense of urgency in those they are trying to scam by threat of arrest or other means. By creating panic, the potential victims may do something that they may not ordinarily do.
· Law enforcement will never contact someone and request money to either have a warrant recalled or charges dropped. Also, law enforcement will never contact anyone regarding the missing of a court date or request payment to recall a Bench Warrant for missing court. If you receive this type of call, hang up the phone. It is a scam!
· If a scammer requests payment via prepaid cards or an unusual type of payment, consider this to be a scam. The Sheriff’s Office has been receiving reports of scammers requesting payment via digital currency, such as bitcoin.
· If you are the victim of a scam, and have suffered financial loss or had personal identifying information compromised, contact law enforcement and request that a report be filed with the agency in the jurisdiction in which the scam occurred. Businesses may require that a police report be filed before they begin an investigation or before any possibility of restitution on their part.