Fraud Watch News

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The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Consumer Protection Unit is issuing a Fraud Alert for local business owners reminding them to take caution and trust their gut when entering into contracts for their services.

Multiple business owners have contacted our Consumer Protection Unit to report being solicited to perform certain services by a less than honest customer.

The businesses have received an email from a “legitimate” appearing potential client. The targeted business responds in good faith and provides a contact. The ‘customer’ then provides a deposit that is most likely from a stolen credit card or a cash card. Then, the business receives a text message asking the shop to pay a fee to a third party. So far, three local businesses have been contacted in this manner and then reported it to the CPU.

The CPU has put the victims in contact with the FBI. That agency, as well as the US Postal Inspection Service is cataloguing relevant information to try to determine a pattern.

Sheriff Joe Baron wants to remind business owners that prosecution in such cases is difficult – so it is imperative that you keep your guard up.

WARNING SIGNS:

  • A solicitation from an unvetted business using language that may seem awkward;
  • Payment to an intermediary while deducting a fee
  • ANY suggested use of a total sum with a deduction for the victim’s fee
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