Many have received odd emails from scammers claiming to be a prince in an obscure foreign country who just needs to transfer cash. Or messages on social media demanding action to retrieve prize money never won. Or robocalls that prompt those who answer to provide personal information to avoid a default from the IRS. 

Most don’t think twice to delete the email or hang up the phone, but thousands of people fall for these scams every year. 

According to a 2020 report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, there were over 800,000 complaints regarding phishing scams this past year with losses exceeding $4.2 billion. More than 50,000 Floridians lost $295 million to internet scams last year alone. 

The Herald-Tribune spoke to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Sarasota Police Department to find out which scams are most prevalent in the area. Here are the top five scams and ways to protect yourself: 

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office created the S.C.A.M. public service announcement to warn people not to fall for phone scammers impersonating law officers.

1.) The Grandparent/Grandchild Scams 

The elderly victim is led to believe their grandchild is involved in some sort of legal issue and that funds are needed to keep their grandchild from getting into further trouble. Sometimes the scammer will pose as law enforcement or an attorney. The scammer often also leads the victim to believe there is a “Gag Order” so the victim won’t disclose the offense if questioned by law enforcement or the bank. 

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