The Yates County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating multiple cases of scams targeting senior citizens were several thousand dollars have been scammed.
In some cases, individuals are receiving computer “pop-up” messages that may imply an involvement in a crime, pornography, embezzlement, or other accusation. Some have alerts that your computer is being locked due to a virus, and with a telephone number to call to get assistance. Often these are “spam” and fake alerts will make reference to a police investigation or that it is a federal law enforcement matter and will post a dollar amount that will satisfy the matter. Typically, they will advise of an amount to pay and a method of payment that may include wired transfers such as Western Union, or Walmart, an app such as Venmo or Cash App, or simply cash and checks. Sending you to your bank to withdraw cash is a common trick played on an elderly person.
“We are also seeing complaints of phone calls and emails being received of similar nature. These calls typically involve an accusation of wrongdoing and a means of sending money to clear up
the cases, or to bail out a relative from a correctional facility.” said Sheriff Ron Spike, “These are frauds, and there is no way to prevent a swindle artist from contacting an older person as a
potential victim, so understanding these crimes and preventing them is our best defense.”
The Sheriff’s Office recommends if you receive these types of calls, emails, alerts on your computer, or any other such suspicious activity, do not take immediate action as suggested by the scammer. Please contact a trusted family member or local law enforcement immediately to initiate an investigation into the matter. The recovery of monetary assets once they are gone is exceptionally difficult as many of these “scammers” are actually in foreign countries. Microsoft, nor any other legitimate business or agency operate in the manners listed above. They will not contact you via phone or a pop up window on your computer.
Sheriff Spike urges residents to never give out any financial information to anyone in any manner unless you are familiar with who the person is and why he or she are asking for money. Con artists are skilled liars and want to steal your money. Additional resources are available through the Office of the Aging, as well as many online resources such as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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