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Palm Coast Thursday, May 21, 2020 1 week ago

Sheriff warns of internet scam that cost local resident $6,000

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The scammer told the victim buy $6,000 worth of Amazon.com gift cards and email him the numbers.
by: Brittany Kershaw Public Affairs Manager, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a scam that is circulating online that aims to take advantage of those in need of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On May 15, a woman answered an advertisement on the website Nextdoor.com, where people buy and sell things.

The advertisement was posted by a “Gilbert Neil.” The ad was offering a work from home job with great pay “during a world pandemic.” The woman contacted Neil and Neil gave her the email address of [email protected] and a phone number of 401-777-7434 to make contact with him. 

Neil claimed to be a doctor and a business man who also sells antiques. He offered to pay her $500 a week to run errands for him, but he needed her to start immediately.

He told her to purchase $6,000 worth of Amazon.com gift cards, reveal the gift card numbers and email them to him.

The woman went to the store and purchased over 50 gift cards which totaled $6,000, scratched off coating to reveal the numbers, and emailed photos to Neil. 

Once the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the scam, Deputy Conway called the phone number that Neil provided. Neil promptly hung up the phone as soon as Deputy Conway identified himself. Neil then texted the woman and said “I am not American.” 

“There were many red flags during this interaction, but it is very sad that someone would prey on people during this pandemic,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “We previously warned the community of COVID-19 scams and unfortunately we now have a victim of one. Please protect yourself from becoming a victim by never giving out personal or financial information and never agreeing to pay any sum of money by way of gift cards or pay in advance for employment. Those are clear indications that it is likely not legitimate.” 

To report suspected internet crimes, visit IC3.gov.

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