Online fraud continues to be a threat

OKEECHOBEE — It’s always a good idea to be cautious when contacted online by someone, even if they appear to be a relative. As one local Okeechobee man discovered, it could just be someone trying to scam you.

The man received a message through Facebook from someone claiming to be his wife’s cousin. He gave the person his information and sent money for a “government grant.” Over the period of a week, he sent a total of $2,865 to secure the grant, and all the transactions were conducted through Walmart.

He became suspicious when he was informed that the money delivery truck had been in an accident and was impounded by the police. The “cousin” needed him to send more funds.

At that point, he contacted the police and his bank.

In another example of online fraud, another local man had been chatted on an adult dating app via his cell phone, where he encountered what seemed to be a female interested in chatting. After accepting her friend request, he began to notice unusual activity in his personal email. Because all of his financial institution documents as well as personal information, such as his social security number and personal contacts were stored on his email, he immediately denied access to his personal email along with the dating app on his cell phone.

In cases like the first man, where it seems to be a relative contacting you, the best course of action would be to contact said relative via another means and verify with them that they’ve made this request. In the case of the second man, be wary of accepting “friend” requests from someone you don’t know.

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