The Sheriff’s Office has received at least two reports of people receiving emails from people allegedly known to them asking for money.
In each incident, the scammer poses as a friend, family member, business partner or some other known person to the receiver and uses an email with an address that is close or nearly the same as that person’s real email. They then give some false story and ask for money. In at least one case, the scammer asked for and received several hundred thousand dollars. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating both known cases at this time.
The scams employ the same theme commonly reported to the Sheriffs’ Office: The victim suddenly faces some fake financial hardship or an alleged loved one is in need for some false reason.
The Sheriff’s Office urges anyone who receives any such message over any platform to CALL THEIR FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER WHO THE SCAMMER CLAIMS TO BE!
Never give money electronically without calling to verify with the alleged person in need first.
Also, be aware that the holidays are often ripe with reports of scams and theft. Be wary of those collecting money over the phone, particularly if they ask for donations with gift cards. That should always be a red alert!
Residents should know that government agencies (as well as law enforcement agencies and utility companies) will always send you notification of an issue via the mail or in person. Always be alert on the phone. Ask for proof via a letter in the mail. Never give personal information over the phone.
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.
Our deputies spend their holidays working in order to keep our community safe. Have a safe and happy holiday season, from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.