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Fraud Alerts

Attention Internet Users - Beware of Old Scams!
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Over the last few months, The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line has received numerous complaints regarding online advertisements for employment, merchandise and automobiles. The majority of these complaints are from internet users who have applied on-line for a job, "clicked" on an infected e-mail attachment, sold a variety of merchandise or purchased a vehicle. 

Users should be very cautious when using online sites such as Craigslist, E-Bay or similar websites when buying or selling items or when attempting to secure employment. Scammers who once were limited by how they could take advantage of folks are now placing free ads on the internet and sending very legitimate looking emails to the unsuspecting. You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:

-Deal only with locals you can meet in person.  Follow this and avoid 99% of scams.
-Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram or any other wire service.
-Fake cashier checks and money orders are very common.  Banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
-Craigslist is not involved in any transaction and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification".
-Never give out personal information such as bank account numbers or your social security number.
-Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services.
-When purchasing automobiles make sure you check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and confirm with the Division of Motor Vehicles that you will be able to properly register the vehicle.

It’s very important internet users recognize that they may be getting scammed if the person they are communicating with:
-Refuses to communicate via the telephone.
-Refuses to provide a company name or phone number that can be researched and confirmed as a legitimate business.
-Asks the user to "CLICK" on an attachment to get more information.
-Requires the user when applying for a job to purchase a credit report linked to the scammer’s e-mail.

If you suspect that an item posted on any of these sites are a scam, or if you have been victimized by an on-line scam, you can report your complaint to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Hotline at 239-477-1242.

       For assistance call the Sheriff's Office Fraud Line:  239-477-1242
        CASE, Communities Against Senior Exploitation

Media inquires should be directed to Community Relations Manager at (239) 477-1481