Scammers Use Bag of Tricks to Scheme You

Fraud Alert BannerThe Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line continues to receive hundreds of complaints from concerned residents about a variety of scams currently circulating throughout Southwest Florida. We urge you to remain vigilant in protecting your identity, credit card, and bank account information by familiarizing yourself with the three most reported complaints highlighted below:

1. Phone Scam Targets Dish Network Customers: Complainants to the fraud line say they initially were not suspicious of this scam because their Caller ID identified the call as coming from Dish Network. A variety of twists has been reported including:

• offers to cut the customer’s bill in half,

• requests to schedule an appointment to bring new equipment to the customer in exchange for $200,

• claims the equipment is outdated and must be replaced. Customers are asked for their credit card numbers or told to purchase a prepaid card,

• demands for customer’s model number and IP address,

• scammers provide the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number, ask customers to verify the first twelve.

What you should know: Dish Network says they never reach out to customers by phone, only by mail and email. If you receive a call from anyone identifying themselves as being with Dish, even if the caller ID says so, HANG UP!

2. Grandparent Scam: This old trick is back and targets grandma and grandpa. Scammers pose as an injured or arrested grandchild and claim they need money to get out of jail or the hospital. The scam often involves a fake “police officer, attorney, or doctor” requesting you wire transfer money or purchase a prepaid card in exchange for the release of your grandson/daughter.

What you should know: If you receive this call, ask for information that only your family member would know, such as, what street they grew up on or what their pet’s name is. Most likely, the scammer will hang up. For peace of mind, call the child or parent to be sure.

3. IRS Telephone Scam: Unbelievably, this fraud continues to plague our area with robocalls threatening a warrant or arrest if a tax payment isn’t made. In the latest twist, the alleged “IRS agent” tells the taxpayer that two certified letters sent to their attention were returned as undeliverable. Immediate payment through a prepaid debit card connected to the IRS’s EFTPS Voice Response System is required to avoid spending time in jail.

What you should know: Hang up immediately! The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments.

If you have questions regarding any of these scams, or if you would like to report a scam or fraud, contact the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 258-3292 or by email at fraudline@sheriffleefl.org.