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Pam Bondi

In 1989, some of Florida’s most effective crime fighters were unleashed through the creation of the Attorney General’s Seniors vs. Crime Project. This Project, sponsored by my Office, allows seniors to be actively involved in their own and their younger citizens' protection.

The volunteers, known as Senior Sleuths, (1) serve as eyes and ears to inform my office of current issues affecting seniors, (2) educate the public about scams and frauds, (3) assist law enforcement as actors with undercover operations and (4) manage consumer cases referred by my office or requested of the Project by other sources. These crime fighters are responsible for recovering millions of dollars for seniors who were intentional or unintentional victims of con artists or honest businesses.

Volunteers work throughout the state in locations known as Offices. More than 3,000 Senior Sleuth volunteers provide important assistance to the state's crime fighting effort from those Offices or from the comfort of their homes.

Unethical businesses and individuals may believe that their senior target is helpless, when, in fact, the "target" may be working for the Attorney General or local law enforcement in an undercover role.  Few volunteer opportunities permit this level of involvement for seniors in their own protection.

I am proud to be a partner with these outstanding citizens. Please give the Seniors vs. Crime Project a chance to help with your consumer related complaint by calling 1-800-203-3099 or request help through their web site.

Pam Bondi
Attorney General

 Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
 
 New Scam Alert   I have gotten 2 calls in the past hour on my cell phone in which a man with a middle eastern accent threatens me by saying that I or my "attorney of record" must contact him "the second the message is received" about a financial matter.  He goes on to say that if I don't return his call, "as the situation unfolds on you, may God save your soul."  Of course I knew it was a scam and googling confirmed that.  Apparently returning the call results in more threats according to what I have read.  I just wanted to somehow make this information public so that no one gets duped into calling this scammer and losing money due to fear.  The number of the caller is 917-460-4116.
 

Byline

Seniors vs. Crime: IRS Scams

By Valerie Norton

The calls have started. “This is Agent Blank with the Internal Revenue Service. Who am I speaking with?” “Let me verify your address (they tell you your address).”Our records show that you owe the IRS a fine. This is very serious and could lead to your arrest.” Panic sets in. “What can I do?” You ask. And they proceed with some options. These people are very convincing and will usually start with “I need you to verify your social security number for me.” Then the conversation would progress to payment options or plans such as “You can pay this fine now and avoid any further action. What is your credit card number?” OR “We can make this easy. Would you like to arrange payments? We can set this up with your bank. Do you have your checkbook handy?” All of these are ways that can be used to commit identity theft.

It has been reported that there are variations of this type of scam. The caller may threaten arrest. They may tell you that your driver's license invalid until the fine is paid. They may tell you that you could face deportation. They may even tell you they are putting a lien on your home or business, etc. These scams are not limited to people claiming to be with the IRS. We have heard about similar scam calls about jury duty. Let me assure you that you will NOT get a phone call from the government about owing fines. No matter what your caller ID says or what information they claim to have (and can verify like your full name and address), please realize this is a SCAM. Hang up. If you are sincerely concerned, call the tax office for IRS or the courthouse for jury duty.

These crooks may use other methods of communication as well. We have seen emails with links to click to make payments as well. One type of computer scam is a “ransom ware”. This is when you get a pop-up on your computer that states you need to pay a fine or they will shut down your computer. These pop-ups are all over the Internet and they will make it so that you can not click anything on your computer until you deal with that little window. Once you click it, they collect your information. Some of these have stated that they are “government fines” for going to a restricted website while others are set around “adult entertainment sites” and try to shame you into paying a fine so that you avoid the “public exposure” of arrest. You may not have even gone to an inappropriate site, but you would rather pay this fine than have anyone think that you have. Some of those examples are gambling sites, pornography, erotic literature, etc.. What you need to do it shut down your computer by holding the power button and take it to a computer repair store. DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING! These tech experts can usually fix the problem for a small fee and also talk to you about online security.

Remember, education is the best way to fight scams. When we know how these people work, we can educate others in how to avoid or recognize these scams. Tell your friends about the news you read and spread the word to minimize the number of victims. Working together, with simple communication, we can shut these people down. Crooks are always thinking up new and better ways to separate you from your money. We are working equally hard to keep you informed.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/03/20/irs-watchdog-says-phone-scam-is-largest-ever/6664661/








The key to being safe is being educated and aware. You can contact Seniors vs. Crime if you have questions about scams by calling (904) 721-6516 or (800) 203-3099, or by going online to Seniorsvscrime.com and clicking on the “Request Help” link on the left.


Writer, Valerie Norton, SVC Manager, Jacksonville

 

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Last modified: 02/03/14