Spotting an Impostor: Scammers Pose as Friends, Family and Government Agencies

It’s easy to think “It couldn’t happen to me.” But scammers know how to get around our better judgment. They play on our emotions or promise big payoffs to get us to act. And many use the names of government agencies like the FTC, trusted companies, or friends and family to get us to buy into their schemes. We may not be able to spot the impostor until it’s too late.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that scammers are posing as people, agencies and companies you know and trust. They may use phone calls, emails, letters, faxes or even text messages in their deceptions. To see past the disguise, you need to be alert to signs of an impostor scam:

DCF Calls Out Fake Food Stamp Website

DCF Calls Out Fake Food Stamp Website

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Division of Children and Families is calling a website that purports to help people apply for food stamps online a scam.

According to spokesperson John Harrell, is not a place for people to turn to online as a means to get food stamps.

In fact, Harrell said the DCF website,, is the only legitimate way for those who need assistance to get it.

"The problem and the danger is that they could be giving their personal information to people who could be scamming them out of money. This is of great concern to us at DCF because there's a lot of people who are suffering at this time economically. And there are websites that are taking money from people who don't have much to begin with," Harrell said.

Update: Westside Shooting Victim Was Subject of Police Search

Update: Westside Shooting Victim Was Subject of Police Search

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police have canceled their search for a man wanted for several crimes after he was shot during an apparent burglary Tuesday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office issued an alert Tuesday to be on the lookout for 36-year-old Michael Paul Strotsky.

He was wanted for dealing in stolen property, giving false verification of ownership and burglary, and police said he had been committing residential burglaries on the Westside.

Tuesday afternoon, police responded to a shooting on Park Street near Roosevelt Boulevard.

The resident of a home in that area told police when he arrived home, he found a find a man inside, felt threatened and shot him.

The man was taken to Shands with life-threatening injuries. Today, police revealed the man is Strotsky.

No charges have been filed against the man who shot him.

Shooting Reported on Jacksonville's Westside

Shooting Reported on Jacksonville's Westside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police are on the scene of an attempted burglary and shooting this afternoon on the Westside.

Police responded to a home in the 3900 block of Park Street at about 3 o'clock.

Police said the homeowner arrived at his residence and there was someone inside.  The homeowner felt threatened and shot that person. 

It does not appear that the two knew each other prior to this incident.

The suspect was shot in the lower torso area and has been taken to Shands Jacksonville with life threatening injuries.

Police said any charges against the homeowner will be up to the State Attorney's Office.


Police Searching for Burglary Suspect

Police Searching for Burglary Suspect

Police are actively looking for suspect, Michael Paul Strotsky for Dealing in Stolen Property, Giving False Verification of Ownership, and Burglary. He has active warrants for his arrest with a $200,000 bond.

6th Annual Stop Teen Underage Drinking Rally Today in Jacksonville

6th Annual Stop Teen Underage Drinking  Rally Today in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Students from all of Duval county's public high schools are participating in the Stop Teenage Underage Drinking (S.T.U.D.) Rally.

The event addresses issues relating to underage drinking and lifestyle choices that teens face on a daily basis.

The S.T.U.D. Rally begins at 7 A.M. at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium.

Possible 'Home Owner' Energy Audit Phone Scam

For well over a week now, a call comes in from 904-525-2895, a cell phone with a recording telling me about a free energy audit appointment I can set up and get $3,700 from a government program. I pressed one, as prompted, to ask a few questions about this free energy audit that was going to put $3,700 in my pocket (if I qualify).