Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department continues to take reports from victims of scammers at alarming rates.

The Sheriff added that these scammers are going after unsuspecting victims and stealing their hard earned cash, some victims’ losing upwards of $6,000 or more.

There are plenty of horror stories about fraud committed by stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Within a week of stealing such information, thieves can (and have) ordered expensive monthly cell phone packages, applied for a VISA credit cards, had credit lines approved to make high-dollar purchases — even received PIN numbers from The Department of Motor Vehicles to change victims’ driving record information online, and more.

Here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know, make sure you cancel your credit cards immediately. You should write down the toll free numbers so you know whom to call; keep those where you can find them easily. Another handy tip is to place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. This way you will know what you had in your wallet, all of the account numbers, and phone numbers to call and cancel; keep the photocopy in a safe place.

You should file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was lost or stolen; this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation. This is very important, make sure to call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases.

The numbers are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be fooled into giving up your money. The sheriff is asking for assistance in identifying suspect(s) responsible for committing these crimes and you can receive up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible, please call, email or text your anonymous tip to CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or visit www.MidlandsCrimeStopppers.com. You can also text “TIPSC plus your message” to CRIMES (274637).