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St. Stephen Police Department
Financial Protection

Police Chief: Lee Wadford

137 Hood Street, St. Stephen, SC 29479


Each year in the United States many people lose money to con artists, mail fraud, and other scams.

Not only will people and organizations like these take your money, they will steal your self-esteem as well.

Although you may feel you are too intelligent to be a victim, it can happen to anyone.

The solution is to educate yourself so that you will be able to spot scams before they occur.


Con artists are rarely violent, but they are psychological artists who have the ability to manipulate people out of their money, assets, life insurance benefits, pensions, annuities, savings, and home equity.

Because they can be so convincing, some people willingly give out their personal information or provide money to con artists.


Realizing that you have made a mistake and have been taken advantage of by a con artist can destroy your self-esteem.

Con artists tend to target older adults that live alone. A con artist targets vulnerable characteristics, such as a desire to help charitable organizations, or a financial need, in order to exploit.

Con artists work in person, by telephone, and through the mail.

If you are unsure if a telephone call is a scam, you can hang up and call 911 or File a SSPD Incident Report

Common phrases to tip you off to a scam, mail fraud, or a con artist are:


  • A call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and demanding money be paid immediately

  • Someone telling you to put money on a prepaid visa card

  • Someone telling you if you don’t provide money immediately, you will be arrested

  • Something for nothing

  • Big money guaranteed

  • Cash only

  • Hurry now, or do not delay

  • Today only

  • Last chance offers – act now

  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

  • Left over merchandise

  • Get rich quick

  • Limited time offer

Financial Crime Prevention Requires:

  • Your best defense in any of these situations is to investigate everything carefully.

  • The Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s Office can provide you with information.

  • Always be aware of unsolicited offers.

  • Avoid hasty decisions.

  • Take the time to thoroughly read, discuss and understand any paperwork you sign.

  • Criminal fraud is often hard to detect, so caution should always be exercised.

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