The Winchester Police Department (WPD) has launched an awareness campaign titled “Fight the Fraud Inferno” in order to educate residents about how to safeguard their personal information and protect their finances. From January 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019, the WPD received over 250 calls regarding reports of fraud and potential scams. Many reports of fraud cannot be investigated by local police, because scammers are difficult to track down and often live outside the United States.
“When our citizens become victims of crime in which they are losing thousands of dollars, we want to do everything we can to carry out justice for them. We come to work each day to enforce the laws and investigate incidents to the fullest extent. That’s why these cases are frustrating for our officers,” stated Sgt. Adam Orndorff of the WPD Criminal Investigations Division.
“Prevention is key. Therefore, we must educate the public, especially seniors who are often specifically targeted,” stated Lt. Amanda Behan who is leading the campaign. “Scammers are continuously developing new ways to scare and trick us out of money, which is the reason for the campaign name. An inferno is a fire that is out of control, and so is the amount of money Winchester victims are losing.“
The campaign began with the distribution of an educational flyer at the Top of Virginia TRIAD Senior Fall Festival event on October 10, 2019, which was attended by over 125 people. WPD personnel will work with community partners to help spread the educational material. In the future, the campaign will include the release of videos and other promotional materials on the WPD social media pages. For more information, please visit https://www.winchesterpolice.org/crime-prevention.