Every year, citizens of Winnebago County lose thousands of dollars to the activities of scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door-to-door and telephone scams.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office has seen the devastating effects scams can have on people and their families. One of the best ways to combat this kind of fraud is to help you take measures to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Follow these top 10 tips to protect yourself!
1. Watch out for scams- scammers target you anytime, anywhere, anyhow.
2. Don’t Respond- ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phone calls or SMS messages- press ‘delete’, throw them out, shut the door or just hang up.
3. Don’t agree to an offer right away- do your research and seek independent advice if it involves significant money, time or commitment, and get the offer in writing.
4. Ask yourself who you’re dealing with- scammers pose as people or organizations that you know and trust.
5. Don’t let scammers push your buttons- scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want, including adopting a personal touch.
6. Keep your computer secure- always update your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and only buy from a verified source.
7. Only pay online using a secure payment service- look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol.
8. Never send money to someone you don’t know and trust- it’s rare to recover money from a scammer.
9. Protect your identity- your personal details are private and invaluable; keep them that way and away from scammers.
10. If you’ve spotted a scam, spread the word!- tell your family and friends, and report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Just remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
What to do if you get scammed:
1. Complete the Victim Checklist
2. Contact our non-emergency number to file a police report
Oshkosh: (920) 236-7600
Neenah: (920) 727-2888
3. Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP
If you did not fall victim to a scam:
1. Contact Deputy Erica Geschrei at with information about the attempted scam. This will aid us in advising the community of potential scams targeting Winnebago County.
2. Share this information with family and friends.
Most Recent Scams in Winnebago County….
Travel Services Group Scam:
This scam targets individuals that own Timeshares where the owners of the Timeshares, usually elderly people, are contacted by an individual named Will Crawford or someone saying they are representing Travel Services Group. Will Crawford or the Travel Services Group, will set up a meeting with the victims, and convince them to pay a substantial fee regarding their Timeshare, approximately $7000.00. Will Crawford or the representative with the Travel Services Group, will convince the victim that they will invest the payment, by selling the victims unused Timeshare points to corporate executives for substantial profit. The victims are then told that they will be able to “Double” their money by making this investment, and should receive their money back within a few months.
In each of these cases, which has been reported in the Fox Valley and Milwaukee areas, the victims checks have been cashed at an out of State bank, with no money having been returned to any of the victims. Efforts by Law Enforcement and the victims to contact Will Crawford or the Travel Services Group have been unsuccessful.
A victim was selling a product through Craigslist for a specific price and receives a check for an amount substantially higher then the asking price. The victim is then asked to send the difference to a specific address via a Moneygram account.
Clerk of Courts Scam:
An individual called stating they were from the Winnebago County Clerk of Courts Office and needed to collect payment from a traffic ticket that was issued. This individual was able to obtain information from the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website that the person they called had an outstanding ticket that needed to be paid. The individual attempted to collect personal information and bank information from the victim.
IRS Phone Fraud Scam:
Sophisticated scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from the IRS and are armed with enough information, such as the last four digits of a person's Social Security number, to convince victims to wire them money. Callers claim to be from the IRS and tell people they owe taxes that must be paid immediately using a pre-paid debit card or through a wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of business or driver's license. They use fake IRS numbers, making the caller identification information appear as though it's coming from the IRS and also send official-looking emails. They often call a second time claiming to be police or the Department of Motor Vehicles.