by SC Assistant Publisher, Photographer Chuck Larsen
Thefts, frauds and scams were the topic at the Condominium Association of Sanibel Island breakfast meeting Thursday, April 4, at the Sanibel Community House.
Heather Turco, crime prevention specialist for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, explained that Florida leads the nation in fraud complaints with 208,443 registered in 2017. A former NBC news reporter, Turco is putting her experiences in crime reporting to good use by helping prevent crime.
While saying that debt collection is the most reported scam, Turco used experiences of her family to personalize the illegal activities to watch out for.
TIP: Never give your social security number on a doctor’s office information form. Since the Social Security Administration stopped using those numbers as your identification, there’s no reason your doctor needs it. You are just opening yourself to fraudulent activity.
Since most fraud originates outside of the state, capturing the culprits is difficult. In Lee county, only 8 percent of fraud complaints result in an arrest.
TIP: After you get a call and the silence is broken by a ‘click’ indicating the robo call is beginning, hang up immediately. If you listen to the call and then press the requested number to remove yourself form the list, you are likely only letting them know that you take calls, and listen to them, and you’re moved higher on their call list.
Lee County Sheriff’s Department maintains a direct line to report fraud at 239- 258-3292.