Sheriff warns of money scams

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

By Stephanie Nelson

The Brewton Standard

A number of money fleecing scams are making their way through Escambia County.

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Chief Deputy Mike Lambert with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said Monday while the types of scam vary, the results are not.

“We all know the adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,’ and it hasn’t changed,” Lambert said. “People will use any means they can to earn a quick dollar, even if it means stealing it from hard-working people.”

Lambert said the sheriff’s office has received a number of complaints of supposed telemarketers attempting to “sell” home security systems – especially to homes in the Wolf Log Road area.

“These people call and confirm who they are talking to by giving the homeowner’s name and correct address,” Lambert aid. “Then, they say it’s time to do maintenance on the homeowner’s alarm system. When the homeowner says they don’t have an alarm, they’ve just given the caller all the information they need to burglarize the home – exactly where house is and it’s not equipped with an alarm.”

Lambert said the callers use modern technology to hide their physical location.

“So when you see the call, it may say that it’s coming from a local business,” he said. “It’s not.”

Lambert said variations of the “money order scam” are prevalent locally, as well.

“They say you have won a prize of some sort but you have to ‘pay the taxes’ by sending these people a money order,” he said. “That’s just a way to steal your money – period.”

Lambert also cautioned residents to be vigilant when answering the door when salesmen or repairmen come calling.

“What they do is slap a magnetic sign on the side of the vehicle saying ‘Joe’s Repair Business’ or some such so that they can canvas neighborhoods,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to call 911 and report such activity – especially if you don’t recognize the name on the side of the vehicle. Let us check and make sure they have a legitimate reason to be in the neighborhood.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.