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Not so "friendly" business practices

I have the great pleasure of visiting with residents all across this county when I speak to groups about the risks we all face from scam artists and unscrupulous businesses.  Our office receives so many requests now that I alone cannot meet the demand so I am lucky to have some knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers that help fill the requests.  The information you receive will be the same no matter which of us attend your event.  So if you wish to have a specific member of our staff make your presentation please point that out when you make your request so we can ensure we fulfill your need.

Frequent readers of these articles probably notice I often speak about issues with local businesses and their improper business practices.  The reason I do this is it is our business to help those that have been harmed by such practices.  However, I want to be clear that the vast majority of businesses in our county are fair and consumer friendly.  Just this week we dealt with two businesses that were totally in the right in how they acted, however, they went over and above to help resolve their customers’ issues.  Sadly just as I cannot mention companies that are in the wrong I cannot identify those that are truly good to their clients.  I just wanted to share this story to show that the good do outweigh the bad.

This week we had several residents bring in bundles of scam mail they have received through the U.S. Postal Service.  The interesting trend we discovered was that many of the documents show a return address here in the United States, but the fee is to be sent to an address in the Netherlands.  One of the envelopes was similar to one we had received before where the post mark is from China, but payment is sent to the Netherlands.  In each case the key indicator is the same.  Every one of the documents promised a large payout, but a small fee had to be paid first.  As I have said many times requiring a fee or the payment of a tax before receipt of winnings is ILLEGAL in the United States.  So therefore you should look for this when you receive such documents.  It’s an easy way to tell that what you received is a scam.

The IRS scam continues to raise its ugly head as we had another 7 calls from residents who had received the dreaded call.  Surprisingly one of them was very concerned and was not sure it was a scam and only called to check.  Since this is one of the most prolific scams currently active please talk with your friends and share your knowledge with them.  Only through a team effort can we ensure that no one falls prey to these criminals. 

One final issue I wanted to bring up this week is in regards to our services.  Twice this week we received calls asking for us to recommend a service provider to the caller.  I wanted to let everyone know that we cannot recommend a service provider of any kind.  These are the guidelines provided by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office and it ensures that no preferential treatment is given to any one provider.  If you are considering hiring a particular company you can call us and we can tell you whether or not we have received complaints on that particular company.  As always if you have any questions regarding our services please contact us at 352-249-9139.

- Lee Alexander, Senior Affairs Coordinator & Seniors vs. Crime Office Manager for the Citrus County Sheriff's Office

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Citrus County Most Wanted

NAME: Thomas Michael Murphree

Wanted for:
VOP - Burglary w/ Grand theft
FTA - poss. of controlled substance w/o script

AGE: 32

HEIGHT: 6' 00"