March 28, 2024

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That is the advice offered by law enforcement officials in regard to the various scams circulating now.

Several scams currently are circulating Central Virginia and while scammers have always existed, the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated opportunities for them to ply their trade.

Fake charities, government imposters, jailed relatives and banking scams are the most common in the area. According to Deputy Ron Kesner, TRIAD coordinator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the specifics of scams may change, but they all operate on the same principles.

“Scams have been around since the birth of Jesus,” said Kesner. “Scammers are always coming up with new ways to deceive us but the bones of a scam have been the same forever.”

Scammers try to get goods or money by representing themselves as a legitimate person or organization. Since the beginning of time people have been deceiving others for money or power.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, like earthquakes or hurricanes, create a perfect backdrop for scammers to invent phony charities. Scammers pose as representatives from real charities and create well-designed websites and use direct mail, email and telemarketing to reach out to potential victims. The AARP advises donors to research any charity before offering a contribution. The IRS has a database of organizations that have 501(c) 3 status and organizations, like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator,…

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