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A Florida woman reported losing more than $80,000 to a fake online businessman who contacted her via Facebook Messenger.
The elderly victim stated she was introduced via the social media site to a criminal posing as someone who worked with the health department.
Deputies say the victim was told to send him money as part of a larger investment scam. The thief began instructing the victim to withdraw cash from her bank account and ship it to different names and addresses.
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“Scams often involve fake business people, fake lawyers, and fake claims about money for myriad different reasons. The thieves usually ask for information such as the victim’s full name, address, passport, phone number, and other personal information, as well as a small sum of money upfront for fake administration costs,” said Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. “These are all red flags you are being scammed.”
The Sheriff’s Office also receives reports of scams involving criminals posing as law enforcement officers, utility workers, insurance adjusters, computer professionals, and others who make false claims seeking money. Often they will seek payment from victims via gift cards, a sure sign you are being scammed.
“Always hang up and contact the family member, company, or government organization the caller claims to be affiliated with. Scammers can be convincing: they often use real phone numbers, real names of local officials, or computer software that may mimic the voice of a loved one,” said MCSO.
Remember: Whenever you are asked for large sums of money over the phone, hang up.
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