Woman falls victim to fraudulent car wrap offer

OKEECHOBEE — A 62-year-old Okeechobee woman was the victim of fraud after engaging in talks of wrapping her car for compensation by an unsolicited email.

According to an incident report by Deputy Mark Margerum, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), at approximately 2:27 p.m. on Jan. 30, he responded to the 500 block of Northwest Fourth Street in regards to a fraud complaint.

The complainant reportedly informed Deputy Margerum that they received an unsolicited email on Jan. 6, from someone that invited her to allow them to wrap a company logo around the complainant’s vehicle in exchange for money.

On Jan. 7, the complainant apparently contacted an entity going by the name of Robert Nancy, via the unsolicited contact email, and agreed to have a “Simply Orange Juice” brand wrap placed on the vehicle understanding she would receive a monetary compensation of $600. Robert supposedly informed the complainant that she would receive a check in the amount of $2,600 with the agreement that she deposit the check into her checking account and then withdraw $2,000 and send it to an affiliate of theirs.

The report stated that Robert supposedly informed the complainant that the $2,000 would be split in half by sending $1,000 via MoneyGram to Stephen Banti and $1,000 via Walmart transfer to Joshua Harrison, both at the address of 2876 Windy Ridge Parkway Atlanta, GA, 30339.

The report noted that Robert continued to correspond with the complainant via text messaging from a phone number of 402-263-0659, apparently using the text messaging to track the complainant’s progress with the transaction, continue to guide her through the process and to inquire if the check had cleared.

On Jan. 23, the complainant apparently received an email from Robert that stated the check for $2,600 was sent to the address she provided by United States Postal Service (USPS) and provided a tracking number. Robert also supposedly reminded the complainant to send back the $2,000 by the method provided, stated the report.

On Jan. 25, the complainant reportedly received the check from Gulf Coast Produce of Alabama LLC in her name for the amount of $2,600, where she then deposited into her Regions Bank checking account.

On Jan. 29, the complainant withdrew the $2,000 from her Regions Bank account and sent the money as directed to the individuals and address provided. The complainant then reported that after she received confirmations of the money reaching the intended parties destination, she no longer heard from Robert, who was apparently not returning any of her text messages.

On Jan. 30, the complainant reported going to Regions Bank where she discovered that her checking account was overdrawn and the check for $2,600 had not cleared. Regions Bank reportedly advised her to report the fraud to OCSO.

The report concluded that the complainant was provided an agency card with Deputy Margerum’s name, OCSO phone and case number on it. Deputy Margerum also reported that the complainant was advised to report the incident to Regions Bank fraud department and to provide them with the OCSO case number. The complainant was also told to cease correspondence with Robert or anyone who claimed to be with Simply Orange Juice and to contact the sheriff’s office of any further incidents. A copy of the complainant’s bank statement and of the canceled check were placed into evidence at OCSO.

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Protect yourself from scams says Michele Bell, OCSO Public Information Officer

Another scam that is reportedly going around is a caller identifying themselves as a Florida Power & Light (FPL) employee. The caller claims that you must obtain a green card and send it to them, otherwise your electricity will be disconnected. FPL does not contact you asking for money.

NEVER FALL FOR THIS. IF A CALLER ADVISES YOU THAT YOU MUST GET A GREEN CARD, AN iTUNES GIFT CARD, OR ANY KIND OF MONEY ORDER, HANG UP.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will never call you on the phone and state you must pay or be arrested.

A law enforcement agency will never call and say there is a warrant for your arrest but if you pay they will dismiss it.

If a person says they need your help to cash a check because they have no identification, SAY NO and walk away or hang up the phone.

If an entity contacts you stating that your grandchild is in jail and needs bond money, STOP, contact other relatives and verify if the loved one is in jail.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not contact you and ask for money.

If someone claims they have won the lottery and need your help to collect the money, walk away or hang up the phone.

IF SOMETHING SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.

These are just a few of the scams out there.

BEFORE you fall for one of these scams, contact the Sheriff’s Office.

 

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