Consumer Alert of Scams In Walton County Area

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The scams start like any other ...The phone rings and someone on the other end of the line asks for personal information or services will be immediately terminated.

"We've had a couple complaints, where we had one deputy who had taken a report that an individual has received a phone call” said Walton County Sheriff’s Office PIO Catherine Rodriguez.

But the outbreak of phone call scams in Walton and Okaloosa County is what has police alarmed.

"This is actually the worst we've ever seen it" said Gulf Power PIO Natalie Smith.

This week alone, law enforcement and businesses have identified three different scams taking place in the two counties.

"The caller was stating that they were from Best Buy and they needed to do an account update" said Rodriguez.

"We're getting lots of calls from customers saying that someone is calling them and asking for their credit card information. Threatening them to turn off their power if they don't go ahead and give them their credit card information right away over the phone" said Smith.

A third scam involves individuals offering change of address services from the postal service to consumers in six different states including Florida. Law enforcement says you should always be suspicious of anyone who asks for personal information over the phone - especially if they say its urgent.

"If someone is calling and pressuring you to not only give personal information but especially your credit card information that is a big red flag” said Smith.

"If they get a phone call and they're concerned about it just ask that person that is calling them. Get their name get a phone number. Get specific details as to why their calling. Even ask for a call back number" said Rodriguez.

The best way to protect yourself from these sorts of scams is to never give out any personal information to someone over the phone - unless you made the call. If you are ever suspicious about a phone call, make sure you get as much information you can from the caller and then call police.

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