Columbia County Sheriff issues fraud warning

Sheriff offers tips to avoid being a victim of holiday season fraud

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - The Columbia County Sheriff's Office put out a warning about scams to their residents Monday night.

Whether it's through phone lines, letters or the internet, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said they want all residents of the county to be aware that the holiday season is also the season for scamming.

According to the sheriff's office there have been numerous complaints of solicitations through the phone, emails and U.S. mail across the county.

Channel 4's Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson said people need to be prepared when criminals come calling.

"People are a little more benevolent, the atmosphere is different, and people are more vulnerable. So what you have to do is one- don't trust anybody," said Jefferson.

It might seem harsh, but Jefferson said that is what will keep people safe.

Columbia County officials said there are plenty of sob stories and empty promises going around. One to be aware of is a call about a loved one needing money for an arrest or injury overseas. People should also be aware of fake charities or fake contractors looking for money.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said that people should make sure to try and verify all the information they are hearing from a potential scammer. The Sheriff's Office recommends people do a web search or a cross reference, and never agree to send money or pay for anything up front.

Jefferson also said people need to remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it usually is.

"It may sound cold and callous, the information I give you, to do but it's not and I recommend you ignore them," said Jefferson.

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