The Sheriff’s Office is again alerting residents of phone scams after we received two reports today/Thursday of thieves using a popular method/lie: A family member is in some trouble and needs your money.
All residents should be weary of any unknown third party caller requesting money because a loved one is supposedly in trouble. Always hang up and call that loved to make sure they’re OK. Never send money over the phone. Legitimate law enforcement does not operate in such ways.
Usually the scammers will say something like your loved one has been arrested or was involved in a vehicle crash. Hang up even if the callers claim to be law enforcement.
Scammers have been cloning legitimate law enforcement and other government office phone numbers in an effort to appear legitimate. Some residents have previously reported getting calls from someone posing as Sheriff Rick Ramsay. The family scam aside, thieves also often say you have a warrant for your arrest for missing jury duty or some other legal issue, and that you can resolve the issue by paying over the phone. Never pay over the phone. Hang up and call the number back.
Important note: Never make any sort of purchase or monetary transaction with/using gift cards online or via the phone. Gift cards are a giveaway you are being scammed.
Residents should never give personal, monetary or gift card information to anyone over the phone, in a text or an email— TO ANYONE REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY CLAIM TO BE — without first checking with that person, utility or government agency!
Anyone with information about any crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. If a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.