Scammers and fraudsters are active now with the tax return season happening, but it’s the potential house burglars that are the most concerning. There are reports in DeFuniak Springs of men approaching elderly home owners under the guise of repairing their roof from storm damage. Once inside the home would be thieves are checking out valuables and the layout of the home. Their goal is to return when the residents are not there to break in and steal from their unsuspecting victims. “This kind of thief is especially concerning,” said Chief Mark Weeks. “They prey on our elderly population and could potentially break-in with someone at home.”
Another scam occurring more often is that of a grandchild in need. The scammer calls and claims to be the granddaughter or grandson of the senior citizen. The scammer even calls the victim “Granny” to aid in the ruse. Usually the connection is degraded so that it is hard to understand the scammer. This is on purpose. Additional details such as needing money for a car wreck, needing bail money, or injured in a hospital and need money for medical bills have been used. The scammers may even spoof the number of a recognizable agency in order to make the scam seem legitimate.
There is no absolute prevention plan, but there are some things to do to minimize the chance of potentially becoming a victim:
Don’t allow strangers inside your home unless they are accompanying someone you trust.
Use outdoor and indoor lighting at varying times.
Consider installing a security system that notifies someone of an intruder.
Before giving out personal information or signing documents, talk to friends or family.
Advise the person that you will have to call them back at their number you know.
Call the Police Department at 892-8511 on any suspicious persons or circumstances.
“We want our residents to feel safe, especially in their homes. If anything just doesn’t feel right, call us! An Officer will respond and help keep you from becoming a victim,” said Chief Weeks.