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.

Owner Says Dogs Who Mauled Woman Have Attacked Before

Owner Says Dogs Who Mauled Woman Have Attacked Before

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The dogs that mauled a 42-year-old woman Wednesday have attacked before, according to the dogs' owner, Diana Smith.

Officers responded around 11 a.m. to an animal attack in the 13000 block of Gillespie Avenue.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Officers said they found the woman, 42-year-old Dorothy Michelle Sluder, bleeding from the side of her face and hysterical in the bathroom. She had a large cut over her eye.

"She asked if she could use the restroom and I said, 'Yeah hold on just a minute and let me put my dogs up,'" Smith explained.

The victim, Dorothy Sluder, stopped by to pick up cans Smith collected for her. Smith said before she could secure the dogs the Pit Bull and one-year-old Pit Bull mix attacked the guest.

"Her arm was laid open, her eye got bit right here on the side and she had blood everywhere," Smith said.

Update: Driver Arrested for Lem Turner Hit-and-Run

Update: Driver Arrested for Lem Turner Hit-and-Run

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hours after a hit-and-run crash on Lem Turner Road left a teenager with life-threatening injuries, the suspect was found and arrested.

The crash happened Wednesday at Lem Turner Road near the Trout River just before noon.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the car pulled out in front of the victim, 18-year-old Yvonne Roberts, who was on a motorcycle.

Roberts then crashed into the side of the suspect's car, which witnesses said drove off.

Those witnesses, however, were able to provide investigators with a description of the car and the license plate information.

Detectives were able to find the car parked at an apartment complex on Playa Way in Arlington, miles away from the crash, after 7 p.m.

They located 33-year-old Latoysha Blankenship in an apartment and arrested her.

Blankenship is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injuries.

More To Lose Than A Game: Family Has ID Stolen Through Xbox

More To Lose Than A Game: Family Has ID Stolen Through Xbox

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Playing video games won't be the same for 14-year-old Zach Grant anymore.

"He hasn't played in two days. He doesn't know if he should," his mom Lisa told First Coast News.

On Tuesday night, Zach learned that the oldest advice in the parental handbook now applies to the virtual world too.

"Don't talk to strangers," Lisa said, "Bad things can happen when you're talking to people you don't know."

It started when he was chatting online through his Xbox Live game system. Through this system Zach can talk live with someone across town or on the other side of the planet while playing against them in the game.

He started a chat with someone with the screen name "Mr. Lamborghini," and he had something to offer that Zach had been asking his mom for for a while.

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).