FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Phone scams have become an issue nationwide. Locally, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in calls relating to the issue.
“Recently we had someone who was calling and saying they were law enforcement, identifying themselves as a member of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office which is not true, we never call someone and ask for money,” Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said.
With the recent reports from people receiving the calls, the scammers use a variety of stories to pressure you into giving them money, but track down seniors when finding phone numbers
“They target seniors because they feel like seniors are more vulnerable and succumb to the pressure because they’ll keep on saying hey I need this money,” Smith explained.
Sheriff Smith explained the most common way the scammers have been stealing money.
“Most of the time they want you to go get gift cards and then give the number on the gift card to the person calling and then they redeem the gift card and you’re out the money,” he explained.
As a rule of thumb, the Sheriff said if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Even though Franklin County Sheriff officials are aware of the crimes happening, they said it is very hard to find the person making these phone calls.
“It’s really hard, I mean we have tried to track the numbers, we have been unsuccessful,” Smith said. “A lot of times they are in another state and a lot of times in another country. It’s really important that people just be aware of these scams.”
Sheriff Smith said most people will not get their money back because of the difficulty in finding the scammers.
“Most likely they are not going to get their money back, that’s the reality of it,” Smith stated.
If you believe a caller is trying to scam you, Sheriff Smith recommended telling the person that you are going to contact law enforcement. He says most of the time they will hang up.
Sheriff Smith said a brochure will be delivered to people in Franklin County with information on how to avoid phone scams.