Scam & Fraud Awareness
Police continue to receive reports of scams occurring in James City County and surrounding areas. Please make sure that older adult friends and family members know about scams, because they are often targeted by criminals.
Important Things to Know
- Never wire or provide numbers from a prepaid debit or gift card to anyone over the phone without verifying the identity of the caller and the validity of the request.
- Never provide personal or financial information (such as date of birth, social security number, bank account information or numbers from prepaid debit or gift cards) to someone over the phone, via email or through a computer pop-up window.
- Neither Dominion Energy nor the IRS will ask you to make payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit or gift cards; this is not normal business practice for most legitimate companies.
- Law enforcement officers will not call you on the phone and request payment for a fine in lieu of arrest.
Report a Scam
If you receive a suspicious call, email, text message, computer/smart phone pop-up or another type of contact that you believe may be a scam or you think you may have been the victim of a scam, report it to police by calling 757-566-0112. Unsure? Contact Police before providing any personal or financial information.
Examples of Common Scams
Listed below are some examples of scams being seen in our area (scams are not limited to these examples):
- A "police officer" with a local law enforcement department calls explaining that you have missed court and must pay a fine immediately or you will be arrested.
- A "utility company" calls stating that you are past due and your electric service will be shut off if you do not pay immediately.
- A “grandchild” (or the “attorney” or “bondsman” for a grandchild) calls stating that s/he has been arrested and needs you to send money for an attorney or for bond.
- An “IRS Agent” calls stating that you owe back taxes and will be arrested if you do not pay immediately.
- A scammer sends an email to the secretary or accounting staff of a faith-based organization that appears to be from the leader of the organization requesting a payment be made to another bank account.
- Caller states that you have missed jury duty and must pay a fine immediately or you will be arrested.
- Caller states that you have won the lottery or a sweepstakes or can receive a loan or grant and have to prepay taxes or shipping fees in order to receive the funds (or other prize).
- You are contacted by a "friend" or "family member" who advises you that they have traveled out of town and got mugged, injured or arrested and need you to send money.
- You contact someone online selling a puppy and they request payment upfront (typically via wire transfer or prepaid debit or gift cards) with the promise to provide shipping/transportation details after payment is received.
- You receive a bill in the mail from a credit card company that you did not open an account with (this could also be an indicator of identity theft).
- You receive a pop-up window on your computer telling you that there is something wrong with your computer and they can repair it remotely for a charge.
- You receive payment for a service or item that exceeds the sale price and are told to send the difference back to purchaser via wire transfer or prepaid debit or gift cards. There are many variations of this scam.
- Romance scams are frauds that are initiated online and prey on vulnerable people. Criminals create fake online profiles and attempt to get victims emotionally invested so the victim is comfortable sending money to them, having them cash checks for them or other risky financial handling of money
- You receive a call telling you that your Social Security number has been suspended. They may ask you to confirm your social security number and/or to withdraw money from your bank and obtain gift cards. Many of these calls "spoof" the Social Security Administration's phone number so that it appears to be a legitimate call.