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Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Loan scam targets First Coast sailors

By meerna Jun12,2024

U.S. Navy investigators are warning sailors about a loan scam that targets sailors using military-friendly financial institutions.

The scam targets sailors at Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in southeast Georgia, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said in a news release Tuesday.

Navy investigators said scammers approach victims in public places, on foot or in a vehicle, and ask where the nearest financial institution is or where the victim’s bank is located.

If the victim answers “yes” to any of the scammer’s questions, the scammer will ask them to use their phone to retrieve their lost debit card or unblock their bank account from the banking app where the victim has an account.

Investigators said scammers often offer victims money to hand over their phone.

Janice Reitzell, NCIS special agent in Mayport, said that once scammers get their hands on the phone, they typically apply for a $5,000 loan from the victim’s financial institution and transfer the money through an app like CashApp or Zelle, then return the phone. victim.

She said this type of fraud was first reported in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia in early April, and the number has increased over the past few months.

“This has been going on for several months, starting in our area of ​​Norfolk in Hampton Roads (in southeastern Virginia) and then spreading south,” Reitzell said.

According to her, approximately 20 sailors from three local naval bases fell victim to the fraud, with average financial losses of $5,000.

Most financial institutions do not refund victims of such scams because the victim voluntarily gave up their phone and provided information to the scammers.

If someone asks you to use your phone or banking app, just tell them “no” and move away from them as quickly as possible, Reitzell advises.

If you feel threatened, call the police immediately.

Persons who have been victims of fraud should file a police report, contact the Naval Criminal Investigation Division and its headquarters, and then notify their bank.

By meerna

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