FRAUD AND SCAM PREVENTION

Whether by Internet, Phone, Text, Email, U.S. Mail, or in person, scammers work tirelessly to find

different ways to attempt to victimize you. The Sheriff's Office reminds you to remain vigilant in 

protecting yourself against scams.

Scam artists prey on people's emotions by trying to instill fear or create a sense of urgency in the

hopes that people will act before thinking things through. Scammers may try to gain your

confidence by posing as a legitimate company or government agency. Below are crime prevention

tips and questions to ask yourself when confronted with a possible scam.

  • Who are they?

  • Are they posing as a government agency?

  • Why would they be contacting you?

  • What are they really asking for?

  • Are they asking for personal information?

  • Do you do business with the company contacting you?

  • If you decide to make a purchase, solicitors must provide you with a signed and dated written order to invoice which includes:

       1)the name and address of the firm; 2)your signature; 3)terms and conditions of the sale-READ CAREFULLY!

  • Solicitors are not allowed to solicit if you have a "No Soliciting" sign posted on your premises.

  • Contact the Sheriff's Office at (706)839-0500 if your circumstances are suspicious.

Lottery scams begin when you are notified that you have won the million dollar lottery, but you have to pay a fee by a pre-paid reloadable card (the scammer usually specifies a Green Dot card) to obtain your winnings.

  • If you receive such a phone call, letter, or email, hang up, delete the email or shred the letter. It is a scam!

  • First, ask yourself if you played that lottery. If you didn't, how could you have won it?

  • If it is legitimate, you will never have to pay a cent to receive your winnings. Remember: Stop, don't rush into anything, ask questions, or discuss it with a trusted friend.

If you still have reservations and don't know what to do, please call us here at the Sheriff's Office at (706)839-0500.

A grandparent receives a  call from someone they believe to be a frantic grandchild, lawyer, or law enforcement officer. The caller then describes an urgent scenario requiring that thousands of dollars be sent immediately, e.g. your grandchild will go to jail if you don't send bail money or he/she became ill while traveling out of state and needs money to come home.

If impersonating the grandchild, the scammer may speak softly or cry so that the victim is less likely to question why the grandchild's voice sounds different.

Sometimes the caller will request the victim wire money, pay with gift cards or even mail cash, (all red flags of a scam). In a new twist, scammers say they will send someone to the victim's house to pick up the money. Once the victim pays the money to the courier, there's virtually no way to get it back. Sometimes the scammers may call back, claiming they need more money.

  • Don't answer phone numbers you don't know.

  • Don't assume someone that addresses you as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other relative is actually who they say they are - verify it.

  • Your relative asking you to wire them money for an emergency should be a red flag to you.

  • Get off the phone and call your grandchild directly to verify his/her whereabouts. If you can't reach your grandchild, contact the parents-even if you were asked not to do so.

  • Don't wire any money without confirming they are who they say they are.

  • Remember, a scammer can discover many personal details about someone via social media or through identity theft, so do not trust a caller at face value, even if they provide the name or certain details about your grandchild.

  • Limit what you share on social media and check your privacy settings.

  • Never give your address, person information or money to someone who calls you out of the blue.

IRS Scams occur when you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, US Treasury Department, or a local law enforcement agency and claim that you owe back taxes. They will warn that if you or your lawyer does not call them back ASAP, they will have to serve a warrant for your arrest. The scammer may request that the payment is made with a reloadable card. Please know that the IRS, US Treasury Depart, or the Habersham County Sheriff's Office will not call you for anything, especially a payment. Remember, if you have caller ID and you don't recognize the number displayed, do not answer the phone. Let the call go to your voicemail/answering machine and you will decrease your chances of becoming a victim.

One scam making the rounds takes the form of an automated phone message from a major company (Walmart, Amazon, Costco or Target) confirming a recent purchase you supposedly made for a big-ticket item totaling several thousand dollars. You are told that a shipment confirmation will follow shortly at which time your credit card on file will be automatically charged. The message asks you to call a phone number if you did not make the transaction in question or to report an unauthorized transaction. If you dial the number, you will likely be asked to provide your account credentials or payment information so that your account can be "credited." The scammers will then use that information to steal your money or commit identity theft. This scam can also occur via email or text message.

  • Do not call the number provided or click on any links.

  • Login to your online account with the retailer, or contact the company through a verified telephone number or website to see if, in fact, there was an unauthorized charge made to your account.

Scammers call or mail a letter to consumers saying they have won a cash prize in a sweepstakes. The scammer may claim to be a representative from a government agency or indicate that the sweepstakes has been "approved" by a federal law enforcement agency, such as the Office of the Attorney General. The consumers are informed that in order to collect their prize, they must first pay various fees usually via wire transfer, gift cards or prepaid cards to cover taxes or handling fees.

  • If you are asked to pay money to collect a prize, no matter what the reason, it is a scam.

  • Being asked to wire money or pay via gift cards or prepaid cards is another red flag of a scam. 

  • The Attorney General's Office does not endorse sweepstakes.

1. Do not communicate further with the scammer. They are criminals and some are dangerous. Never offer to travel to meet them to claim your money or prize, pay them to receive your prize, exchange products from Craig's list or give out your address and other personal information.

2. Contact your bank immediately and ask them to monitor your account for unusual activity. Ask them if it is necessary for you to close out your current accounts and open new ones.

3. Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your account. They will pass the info to the other two. This will require credit agencies to contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to your current accounts.

    Equifax - 1-888-766-0008            Experian - 1-800-525-6285         Transunion - 1-800-680-7289

4. File a Report with your local law enforcement if you have lost money to a scammer. Ask for a copy of the report to submit to your bank, credit agencies and other financial institutions for proof that a crime was committed. 

5. File a fraud complaint with the Federal Trade Commission - www.ftc.gov and www.identitytheft.gov.

6. Document and save all conversations you have with the scammers, whether by text, email or phone, and with your bank, the credit agencies, and law enforcement. Include the date and time of when you had a conversation, who you spoke with (person's name and extension number if applicable), the phone number you contact and the information you provided.

7. Monitor bank and credit card activities closely. Report any suspicious activity.

Never - Click on a link from an unknown source.

Never - Give any personal information over the phone.

Never - Pay for anything via money or gift cards or wire transfers.

Never - Call the numbers provided by a scammer pretending to be a legitimate business - these call go directly to the scammer.

Never - Pay strangers via cash apps (Venmo, etc.)

Never - Pay for something prior to seeing it (rentals through Craig's List).

Questions to ask yourself:

Solicitors (door-to-door sales):

Lottery/Sweepstake Scams:

"Grandparent" Scam:

IRS Scams and Tax Identity Fraud:

Order Confirmation Scams:

Sweepstakes Scam:

If you have fallen victim to a scam:

Never: