Scams and Fraud
As a reminder, legitimate companies and government agencies do not contact you on the phone requesting information. They also do not ask for or require you to make payments to them by way of a pre-paid credit card that you purchase at a store.
29 May 2020: The following has been reported.
Recent Identity Theft
Nothing to Report.
Nothing to Report.
Nothing to Report.
PLEASE BEWARE OF: I.R.S. Scams, Funds being requested to assist family members, Funds requested for failing to appear in court, Funds requested for warrants for arrest. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office DOES NOT contact citizens for funds or gift cards for any of the above information. If you feel that there’s something suspicious, please contact The Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2900 before you take any actions.
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. They add new twists to old schemes and pressure people to make important decisions on the spot. One thing that never changes: they follow the headlines — and the money. For more information follow the below links.
Recent Phone Scam
It’s tax season again and we are being made aware of many people receiving phone calls from SCAMMERS claiming to be from the “Investigation’s Department of the Internal Revenue”. Please remember the IRS will not call you demanding immediate (i.e. pre-paid credit cards, green dot cards or any other credit card payment type) payment over the phone!!
Also in recent weeks there has been a SCAMMER calling people claiming to be a deputy and demanding payment or be arrested – THIS IS A SCAM!! No one from this or any other law enforcement agency will call you and demand payment over the phone!
If you have any questions or would like to speak with someone further about these or any other scams please call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and ask for a Deputy to contact you.
Wells Fargo case.
From a victim of a phishing attack:
"I have different passwords for every website I log into, 2-factor authentication when possible; I thought I knew all the scams and could spot them a mile away. This one still got me. I was meeting a friend at a bar. Two drinks in I got a call from someone identified by my phone as Wells Fargo. I'm fully aware this could be spoofed, but it did not raise alarm bells yet. I was at a bar I did not frequent and have gotten calls from my bank before on suspicious charges that were legit, so I answered expecting this to be the case. The person I spoke with said they were with Wells Fargo and they've identified fraudulent charges on my account but they need to verify my identity before they can discuss details. They said they sent me a text message (via the cell number they just called, which is my first clue this is phishing). They asked me to read back to them the 6-digit number just texted to me to verify my ID. Being two drinks in, slightly expecting what this was about, I had zero alarm bells going off. My bad, this was stupid of me. I read the number to them. They suggested it timed out and I needed to read another number they texted to me. Minimal time had passed, a mild spidy sense was tingling, but I still was not concerned enough to ask questions and read them a second 6-digit code. This person then read off 5 recent charges on my account, 4 of which I recognized as legit and a 5th that was a $1000 charge to a credit card I did not own. I immediately identified this as a fraudulent charge and they said "no prob dude, we'll freeze your card and send you a new one". They even gave me the last 4 on the card it was coming from. I was appeased enough to continue (sadly). Finally, they said they sent me one final 6-digit code to confirm that they were crediting my account back with the $1000 fraudulent charge. I just needed to read off the final code they texted to me. At this point things seem weird to me but they got me at a good time. I was 2 drinks in, was interrupted from hanging with a close friend I hadn't seen in months and was outside trying desperately to avoid the loud noise inside the bar but still dealing with traffic noise outside. I just wanted to be done with this. I read them the final code and they thanked me and hung up.
At this point, I see why my phone had been vibrating constantly through this call. I had 4 emails from Wells Fargo. 1) Your user name has been reset, 2) your password has been reset, 3) Welcome to Zelle! an awesome $$$ forwarding service, 4) You've just forwarded $1000!!!!! I called Wells Fargo via the number on the back of my card. After being on hold for 45 min trying to get the fraud department, I start to tell my story only to have the call drop (I'm pretty sure they hung up on me). I called back and was on hold for 1 hour 20 min (my account has been compromised >2 hours by this time) to get a second person. He told me this was a scam they've been dealing with for 3 months and I needed to go into a branch with 2 forms of ID to deal with it. There was nothing he could do tonight. TL;DR: Dude spoofed Wells Fargo when calling me on my cell, requested a reset of my user name, password and approval for $1000 transfer. I stupidly read off the confirmation numbers I received via text to him, he entered them into Wells Fargo website to approve all these requests. Wells Fargo has known their customers have been getting scammed for 3 months and didn't bother to warn anyone. I now have to go into a branch, hang my head and tell my shameful story to a person and beg for access to my account because someone else has control of it all night tonight." Good lesson to be learned: Never, ever give any kind of confidential data to someone WHO CALLS YOU. Always call back to the number on the back of your card.
Recent Email Scam
Email scam received recently with an active link (the link has been deactivated for your safety).
Dear Tax Professional,
You have a new message in your online PTIN account mailbox. To view the message, click here to log into your PTIN account with your user ID and password.
*** Note: This is an automated email. Do NOT reply to this message.
This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have received this email in error, please delete it immediately. Any other use of the email by you is prohibited.
Recent Secret Shopper Scam
A resident of Orange County recently received a letter in priority mail along with a cashier’s check and instructions to evaluate Walmart and MoneyGram. They were to do this by taking the cashier’s check (for $900.00) and cashing or depositing it at their bank. They would then keep $270.00 as pay or better yet $370.00 ($100.00 bonus if they did this within 24 hours of receiving the letter) and buying $50.00 worth of product from Walmart and sending an email to “Eric Godwin” in New York with a survey of the transaction along with the reference number for the remaining balance put on the MoneyGram.
Past Email Scams
EMAIL SCAMS - My wife and I won the Euro Millions Lottery of £53 Million British Pounds and we have voluntarily decided to donate €1,000,000.00 (One Million EURO) to 5 individuals randomly as part of our own charity project.
To verify our lottery winnings,please see our interview by visiting the web page below:
After a computer spinball,your email address was among the 5 random emails which were submitted to us by the Google, Inc as a web user; if you have received our email, kindly send us the below details so that we can transfer your €1,000,000.00 (One Million EURO) in your name or direct our offshore paying bank to effect the transfer of the funds to your designated bank account in your own country.
Past Phone Scams
I.D. SCAM - “Women’s Cancer” Attempt to contact my Wife for Info. The phone number was a phone number that had been discontinued – 1-252-429-1259. The calling female would not talk to me. Calls were made in early morning & at night!
MICROSOFT SCAM - I got a call last night from someone with a foreign accent saying something was wrong with my computer. I knew it was a scam. The number showed up on my caller I.D. as Jellison M at 1-980-939-1571
LAW ENFORCEMENT SCAM - There is a criminal giving his name as Deputy David Scott with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. He is calling people by name and advising that he has a warrant for their arrest and to call him back on how they plan on taking care of the warrant. He then leaves a phone number of (919) 214-1951. We have called the number provided and a message stating “You have reached Deputy David Scott with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and I'm unable to take your call at this time, if this is an emergency please hang up and call 911." He then left his phone number and his extension number 133. The voice sounded American with a Southern drawl.
IRS CALL SCAMS - These scams use basically the same language, but with a different name. Each threatened the person with legal action and serious consequences, and each claimed to be ready to "Help".
The first caller identified himself and "Robert Morris" and left a contact number of (845) 259-9035
The second caller claimed to be "Dennis Gray" and left a contact number of (706) 250-8338 (This called sounded like a recording because it would not let us ask any questions).