Several Punta Gorda residents and business owners have been contacted this week by scammers with different types of scams. In one incident, a Punta Gorda resident was instructed by email to click on a link to prevent her Wells Fargo account from being locked. A second citizen was instructed to email personal information in order to claim assets that belong to him and a third was left a voicemail from Mike Johnson, at the IRS office. He advised that she was a suspect in a case being filed by the IRS and
needed to re-contact him.

Scams are not only attempted by email but in person. A local business fell victim when Mr. Samuel Selig entered the business with an amputated arm explaining that he is a recently returned Middle East wounded war veteran and is down on his luck. The sympathetic business owner wrote Mr. Selig a check, which was immediately cashed. After further investigation, it was determined that Mr. Selig is a registered sex offender, and has an extensive criminal background. Unfortunately these are common scams in which citizens from all over are financially preyed upon.

Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of a crime:

  • Don’t send money anywhere to anyone without fully investigating the person and the company.
  • If you “have to act now,” it’s not worth it.
  • Ask for brochures and other information about the company or nonprofit. A legitimate organization will provide such materials.
  • Never provide your bank accounts, credit card numbers, Social Security number, Medicare number, date of birth, or other personal information to someone who calls you on the phone or requests the information over the internet.
  • Don’t open emails from someone you are not familiar with.

If you are unsure of any situation, if you have been the victim of a scam, or an attempted scam, or if you have information about a scam don’t hesitate to call the Punta Gorda Police Department at (941) 6394111.

Prepared by:
Gloria Sepanik
Accreditation Manager
Punta Gorda Police Department
(941) 575-5563