Lynn Haven, Fla. — The files pile up at the Bay County Sheriffs Office where criminal investigators like Dennis Rozier deal with financial crimes.
He gets about two new scamming cases every day and according to a new report by CenturyLinkQuote, Florida is the 8th worst state when it comes to internet scams.
“A lot of older people retire here, they usually have nest eggs, bank accounts and their homes are usually paid for,” said Rozier. “They’ve got access to money and criminals know that.”
According to the report, Florida residents have lost a combined total of around $111 million to online scams in 2017.
In Bay County, Rozier says telephone scams are even more common; a new one recently surfacing around gift cards.
“People are calling, usually older people, pretending to be with the IRS or with the social security office, and they’ve got a warrant for this person’s arrest,” he said. “Then they offer them the opportunity to go down and buy Walmart gift cards to purge this warrant — they can get rid of it for five hundred dollars, a thousand dollars.”
When it comes to losing money, the scams have a wide range of consequences.
“It can be as little as three or four hundred dollars,” said Rozier. “We’ve worked some where people in a romance scam have been scammed out of a hundred and twenty-five thousand plus.”
So, how can residents keep their computers (and wallets) safe from scams? Rozier says, it’s just about using common sense.
“Most people have the little warning signals that go off in their head,” he said. “The ones that lose money ignore those warning signals.”