Delaware County Sheriff’s Office issues a Fraud Warning

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From the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office:

Today, Sheriff Craig S. DuMond announces the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is currently investigating numerous “re-mailer/re-sender scheme” type fraud cases that have recently been reported throughout Delaware County.

The victims in these cases have each reported having come into contact with individuals through various electronic means, including emails, online applications, social media, and various websites including online dating applications, job search and application websites, online “work at home” ads and more recently, purported charitable organizations that are fraudulently representing that they are making monetary donations to sick and injured children.

Once the suspect develops a relationship with the unwitting victim, he or she convinces the victim to accept a check or other form of “payment”, including electronic fund transfers, which the victim is directed to deposit into his or her own bank account. The suspect then promptly directs the victim to withdraw money from their bank account, either physically, or by electronic transfer, and forward those funds to a second person and location, either by bank wire transfers, online money sharing applications such as PayPal or “the Cash App”, or by purchasing money orders, gift cards or other negotiable forms of currency and sending it to an address provided by the caller. In these cases, the checks or other monetary payments received and deposited by the victims are dishonored by the victim’s bank after the victims have forwarded the funds as directed by the caller.

Sheriff Craig DuMond reminds the public that every minute of each day, criminals are taking advantage of our unsuspecting, vulnerable and compassionate population during these unprecedented and already challenging times and circumstances. These online predators conceal themselves in the obscurity of the internet, and to unsuspecting victims,

often appear to be affiliated with legitimate businesses or causes. They accomplish this by “email spoofing”; the forgery of an email header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Email spoofing is a popular tactic used in phishing and spam campaigns because people are more likely to open an email when they think it has been sent by a legitimate or familiar source. The goal of email spoofing is to get recipients to open, and possibly even respond to, a solicitation.

These cases are extremely difficult and time consuming to investigate, as in addition to the spoofed email addresses, they typically involve “spoofed” internet based phone numbers used for texting or calling and the use of virtual private networks to mask the criminal’s location, and very often these criminals are from foreign countries.

Sheriff DuMond remarked: “The vast majority of these scams prey on the emotions of our families and loved ones, swindling them out of their hard earned savings and oftentimes cause the victims to become unwitting “co-conspirators” in complex networks involving international fraud schemes. Because of they often rely on emotions, compassion and the ever increasing financial challenge we are facing, these criminals are constantly adapting and changing their tactics to coincide with current on-going events as a means of luring in more victims. These constant changes require each of us to take additional precautions and research who we are communicating with online, and to remain even more vigilant to safeguarding personal identifying and financial account information, as well as monitoring the online activities of vulnerable family members.

I remind you to never verify your personal identification or financial account information for unknown, unsolicited callers or provide that information to unsolicited online sources. Frequently update your computer or smartphone’s operating system, virus software and periodically change your user names and passwords. When communicating with persons online, review their use of the written language. Be alert for unusual grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure in those written communications; it can indicate the use of translation software by criminals that are profiting from operating their financial scams from a foreign country with little risk of being brought to justice.”

You can visit the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office website for links that contain other tips or visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-frau

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