Scammer allegedly impersonating Lynn Haven mayor on Facebook
An online scammer is preying upon the generosity of others to solicit money by impersonating Lynn Haven's mayor, Margo Anderson.
"Those solicitations appear to come from a Facebook messenger account that was in the name of Margo Deal Anderson and was essentially asking these people to contribute to Hurricane Michael relief by purchasing Amazon gift cards," said Sergeant Steve McNeil of the Lynn Haven Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit.
Anderson said, "Well, I was angry, I was shocked, but you know, the more I thought about it I was very disappointed."
She worries this scam will deter people from donating to a legitimate online fundraiser.
"What I had tried to do I was starting another fundraising drive with a goal of $100,000--and we had raised over $6,000 in less than three days, [it] was going great and so now I'm afraid because of this that it may slow down the fundraising drive because people will be hesitant," said Mayor Anderson.
The Lynn Haven Police Department will now issue subpoenas for both Amazon and the email address corresponding with the e-gift cards, but the process could take at least a month.
"I certainly would like to see them be able to prosecute whoever is doing this if they're able to catch them, but I do agree that because this email address is one that may have been used even in the California fire fundraising as a scam that it may be almost impossible, especially if it's coming from overseas," said Anderson.
If you're unsure of whether you're being scammed, Sergeant McNeil says there are certain signs to look out for.
"First and foremost if someone solicits you without you reaching out to them, if it's a purely unsolicited contact, then that certainly is a red flag," he said.
Also, keep an eye out for poor grammar and spelling as that may be a sign of someone on the other end of the computer overseas.