Scams pick up in Beaufort County

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office


Within the last week, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in scam attempts perpetrated by telephone. Two of the cases involved tactics already encountered by other Beaufort County residents. The third case incorporates a new twist to defraud victims of their money.

The first case was thwarted by a Chocowinity resident that simply hung up on the caller. The caller attempted to get access to the victim’s computer by saying that the victim’s computer was malfunctioning and the caller could repair the problem remotely. This scam allows the caller to gain access to the victim’s computer to steal personal information such as account numbers, passwords, and credit information. To avoid becoming a victim of this and similar scams, residents should not deal with unsolicited callers who ask for personal information or access to your computer.

The second case involved a Chocowinity resident who lost several thousand dollars to a caller pretending to be an attorney. The scammer called the victim and led the victim to believe their grandson had been involved in a traffic accident and arrested in Chapel Hill. The caller stated that he was an attorney and could get the grandson out of jail if the victim obtained Green Dot money cards and paid for the damage to the car involved in the accident. This case is under investigation, but residents can avoid being victimized by never sending money to “get a loved one out of jail” without first confirming with known contacts that the loved one is in legitimate need of assistance. Law enforcement organizations do not request immediate payment over the phone and any call that requests the victim to obtain a Green Dot card is likely a scam.

The third report effected many victims and was distributed via text message. The

message stated “We need to talk. Please call Amanda,” and was from a fifteen digit international number beginning with area code 0113. Investigation indicates that the number is a Ukrainian number that bills any caller for a “premium rate service.” Anyone who calls the number will likely see a considerable fee on their next phone bill. Residents should not call any number they are unfamiliar with especially when the number is not from within the United States. Victims of this scam may choose to dispute the charge rated to the scam with their phone service provider.

Scammers will continue to try new ways to get access to your money by phone, postal mail, or email. When in doubt, contact your local law enforcement agency before you send any funds or give out personal information.