Scam alert: When in doubt, don’t

OKEECHOBEE – Just when you think you’ve heard them all, another scam comes along. Okeechobee City Police Detective Bill Saum said he was recently reading about Smishing. This involves someone contacting you, usually via text to inform you there is extra money available to you for your digital wallet. “No, it ain’t real,” he said. “First off, money doesn’t fall out of trees. Secondly, when you open up your digital wallet which is nothing more than like a PayPal account, things like that. You can pay all kinds of things out of that. They are secured accounts. It’s guaranteed. There’s some safety behind it. If you add this money to your digital account, there is some sort of connection in the background, and now they can get in your digital account. These accounts also hold things like your driver’s license, social security card. You can scan these things in, and it will hold them secure for you, but if you give the right to go in there by clicking on their little icon or something, you’ve now given them permission to go in and look around.” He went on to explain the thieves can use the information they find to get credit cards, loans, etc. in your name.

He has also been getting a lot of calls lately from people who have gotten calls purporting to be from the attorney general’s office or from the Social Security Administration.

“The Social Security Administration NEVER calls,” he said. “They specifically state on their website they will never call and ask for your social security number – never and in parenthesis, they say ever! I guess they are trying to get the point across! No! If you get a call from the Social Security Administration, it ain’t them. Okay, it’s not them. When the Attorney General’s office calls to say there is a warrant out for your arrest, this, that and the other… I’m sorry. Law enforcement does not flag that we are coming after you so you can run. We don’t like the chase. Honestly,” he laughed.

He said if you did not enter the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, then you did not win the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. “It’s commonsense. Does the $3.5 million look good in your bank account? Sure, it does, for a few days. Until you find out that it’s a fraud, and you’ve spent $40,000 of that money, and now you owe the bank back $40,000. You’re going to be paying for years, and your credit goes down the toilet. Imagine trying to explain that for years and years every time you try to get credit anywhere. It’s a long horrible process.”

“When in doubt, don’t!”

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