Con games and flimflams are schemes designed to defraud you out of money, personal information, or property. Many of these crimes specifically target senior citizens, but anyone can be a victim. Some common con games and flimflams include:
Telemarketing/Online Schemes – The victim is often pressured to give up credit card numbers or other personal information over the telephone or online, in order to 'verify their identity.' Free gifts or other enticements are often promised.
Home Improvement Schemes – These crimes usually occur in the spring, but may occur anytime. Crews of migrant roofers, painters, and pavers victimize older adults by performing 'repair' work quickly, poorly, and at a much higher cost than the original estimate. Transient criminal groups often commit these crimes. Citizens can contact the Department of Business and Professional Regulations to confirm a contractor's legitimacy.
Equity Skimming and Real Estate Schemes – These criminals target homeowners who are behind on payments and need to sell their homes quickly to avoid foreclosure. The 'skimmer' promises to take over the payments, but once the deed to the home is signed over, the 'skimmer' usually rents out the home, and never assumes the loan nor makes any payments.
Bank Examiner Schemes – These criminals represent themselves as police officers or bank officials investigating a dishonest bank employee. The victim is asked to supply a large sum of cash to help catch the person, who they never see again. The victim will also be asked to refrain from calling bank or law enforcement personnel in order to maintain the integrity of the 'investigation.'
(NEVER GIVE OUT BANKING INFORMATION OR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OVER THE INTERNET.)
Work at Home Schemes – The victim is asked to provide payment for information on how to make money by working at home. The victim will usually receive nothing in return, or a packet of very vague information.
Pigeon Drop – This scam is usually committed in a parking lot or other public location. A well dressed suspect will usually approach the intended victim, excitedly explain that he/she found a large amount of cash, and draw the victim into the scam by promising to split the cash. The suspect will request the victim to provide $2,000.00 or more to place into a bag as 'good faith money'. The suspect and victim's money will go into the same bag, and then the suspect will switch the bag with a bag full of paper scraps. By the time the victim realizes what happened, the suspect and money are long gone.
What to do if you're a victim of a Scam or Con Game
-Immediately make a report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Give the investigator assigned to your case as detailed a description of the suspect and any vehicles used as possible.
- Closely monitor your bank account activity and credit report for any unauthorized transactions or new accounts opened, if the suspect obtained your personal identification.
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Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Economic Crimes Unit
Police Memorial Building
501 E. Bay Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202