(Chipley, FL; March 31, 2014)— Washington County Sheriff’s Office warns of a spike in reports of a fraud scheme where scammers pose as law enforcement officers in an attempt to get money.
The caller may say the victim needs to pay a fee to remove a warrant, pay for an expired driver's license or pay to bail someone out. However, the caller always identifies himself as a law enforcement officer and requests wiring of money or credit card information.
“Law enforcement agencies never contact citizens by phone, email, or regular mail and instructs them to pay fees/fines by wiring money, using prepaid money cards, using a money telegram or using similar methods" states Sheriff Haddock. ” This scam I take very personal because they’re taking advantage of the trust between law enforcement and the citizens.“
Sheriff Haddock offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
-Never give your personal identification information over the phone or computer. You may make an exception if you initiated the call or contact and you are certain that you are talking to a trustworthy employee of a trustworthy business.
-Never wire money to anyone claiming to be a police officer to get out of an arrest, etc.
-Never wire money to get more money back (sweepstakes or lottery), or help someone get out of a bad situation such as an arrest, or a broken down vehicle. Especially if the person requesting the money is not known to you personally, or the person called and claimed to be a distant relative, etc.
If you would like to report a fraud, scam or identity theft, contact the fraud line at 850.638.8477. If you would like a Fraud Specialist to speak to your organization or community group, please contact 850.638.6111.