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Beaufort County Sheriff's Office
Thursday April 11th, 2019 :: 03:43 p.m. EDT


Please avoid falling victim to scams through email, social media and telephone.

As the prevalence of email, social media and telephone scams continues to increase, please help protect yourselves, your families and friends from falling victim. Scams vary in design, but all have a common objective “to get your money”

Red Flags
  • Emails from people who claim to have gained control of your computer: They will mention one of your user names and passwords to convince you to pay them—usually with Bitcoin between $500 and $1,000—to avoid having embarrassing or perhaps compromising video of yourself published to your contacts list. 
  • Emails from alleged drug cartel members: These emails may or may not include images of victims of cartel violence that occurred in other countries. They will threaten to kill you and your family, unless you pay them. 
  • Emails from people who allege to represent an inheritance of which you are the beneficiary: They request your bank account and other personal information in order for you to receive the inheritance.
  • Social media requests from persons you don’t know: These requests many times use profile photos of scantily clad woman or men. There are usually very few or no friends or followers on their profiles. Sometimes these requests will come from deceased family members and friends.
  • Duplicate social media requests: These appear to be from people you actually know and many times are already in your social media contacts. They are usually very few or no friends on their profiles.
  • Telephone calls from people alleging to be your relative and in trouble with the law: These persons request money sent to help with bail.
  • Telephone calls from people representing themselves to be law enforcement officers or Internal Revenue Service agents: These impersonators will demand you immediately pay a fine to avoid being arrested.
What to Do
  • Never provide financial information, unless the requestor or site is legitimate. It is prudent to consult family, close friends or an attorney, if you have questions on whether the requestor or website is legitimate.
  • Create strong passwords for online banking and social media sites. You can read about how to create strong passwords here
  • Never respond to suspicious emails. You can read up on email phishing scams and how to better protect yourself here
  • Do not respond to social media friend requests from people you do not know or you have already added as friends. This applies to all social media sites, but is most prevalent on Facebook, as it has an estimated over 2 billion users. You can read about common scams on Facebook here
  • If someone calls and alleges to be from law enforcement or the Internal Revenue Service and asks for payment of a fine in lieu of being arrested, simply hang up the telephone. Law enforcement and federal agencies will never ask for payment of fines over the telephone. Legitimate law enforcement and federal agencies will send official correspondence through the mail. The American Association of Retired Persons provides more insight into police impersonation scams here
  • If you are a victim of a scam or have questions, please contact local law enforcement and stay up-to-date on scams through the Federal Bureau of Investigation website
Please share this information with your family and friends. Attached in PDF format are some examples of recent email phishing attempts.
We appreciate your partnership and continued commitment to the safety of our community.

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office
2001 Duke St
Beaufort, SC 29902

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 843-255-3200