The Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Cyber Crime Unit wishes to advise the community of the FBI MoneyPak virus. Several citizens in our community have come across this particular scam and reported it to our office.
It was first discovered in 2012 by computer technicians and the premise of this scam is that cyber criminals disguise themselves as members of the FBI. They attempt to persuade victims to pay a fine (usually $100-$300) within a certain amount of time. The criminals have created a virus that will lock the victim’s computer down and then demand payment. Victims have also been threatened by the possibility of jail time. These criminals claim that the victim has violated laws, such as downloading copyrighted material or child pornography). It is important to stress these victims are NOT really in trouble with the FBI; the crooks just make them believe they are.
This type of virus is known as “ransomware” and paying the fine not only does not unlock your computer, but can cause more damage. There are also several different variants of this type of scam but they all boil down to one thing—they lock your computer and ask you to pay through pre-paid money cards, such as MoneyPak. If you are infected with ransomware such as the FBI virus, your personal and private data and computer system functionality is already at a very high risk. If the infected computer is powered ON and connected to the internet, Trojans horses may have complete control of the computer system and access to every piece of stored data.
The public may report such activity to www.ic3.gov (the Internet Crime Complaint Center). The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
Captain Charisse Rivers, Chief over the Criminal Investigations Bureau at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) recently graduated as a part of the 129th Administrative Officers Course (AOC) at Southern Police Institute (SPI). The SPI is located at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY. The AOC is an in-residence, accredited college level program that lasts for 12 weeks and is designed to develop informed, effective, ethically and technically competent law enforcement managers who are capable of assuming positions of leadership in their respective agencies. Officers from all over the United States, as well as from countries such as Turkey, attended the course. According to the Southern Police Institute, the diversity of class members “ensures that class members will leave the Southern Police Institute with a network of graduates that will provide an outstanding resource from which they can seek assistance for organizational problems throughout their careers.” The motto of the 129th Administrative Officer’s Course was “Ancora Imparo”. This translates various ways, but really means, “And Still, We Learn”.
Along with the education Captain Rivers received from the SPI, she brings experience in the law enforcement which began at the Ft. Walton Beach Police Department as an auxiliary officer while working full-time at Eglin Air Force Base in Range Patrol and Security Police Investigations. She worked as a patrol deputy with both the Collier and Hendry County Sheriff’s Offices before transferring to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in 1997. In 1998, Captain Rivers was promoted to investigator and spent the next several years investigating crimes against persons. She later became a sergeant. Captain Rivers was promoted to lieutenant in 2009 and served as the Agency’s accreditation manager, leading to the successful accreditation of the WCSO. Rivers was promoted in October 2012 to Captain of the Criminal Investigations Bureau.
Captain Rivers has accumulated over 2,500 hours of law enforcement and management training, and she earned an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Okaloosa-Walton Community College.
“This course was an extremely positive and challenging experience,” Rivers said. “The lessons I learned and the people I met positively impacted my life. Overall, I believe the class will certainly enhance my future performance as a leader.”
Yesterday, Sheriff Adkinson met with the three winners of the 1st Annual Family Fun Art Contest. Jonathan Clenney, Molly Rausenberger and McKenna Rausenberger were awarded with a $25 gift card to Blast Arcade along with a gift card for free ice cream at Moo La La Ice Cream Store, both located in Baytowne Wharf. The winners also met the Sheriff and had their photos made with him. Blast Arcade was the sponsor of this year’s event and their representative, Kitty Whitney, was also present to meet with the children.
Jonathan Clenney was awarded as overall winner and will have his artwork created into a poster that will hang in all of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office substations. Jonathan attends West DeFuniak Elementary in DeFuniak Springs.
The contest was held during the month of April, commonly recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Children were asked to create artwork depicting their favorite family activity. Jonathan chose fishing, while Molly chose “taking a nature walk” and McKenna chose “fishing”.
Deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) have been hot on the trail of the suspects involved in a string of burglaries occurring in the Driftwood Estates area in South Walton. Yesterday, deputies responded to 901 East Mack Bayou in reference to a suspicious persons call. An elderly neighbor made contact with two male individuals in her neighbor’s yard who were hanging around a window at the back of the house. They quickly fled after the neighbor spoke to them.
Law enforcement and the owner of the residence were contacted and deputies found an open window, as well as a damaged window screen. Deputies were able to locate subjects, Miguel Arceo, 16 of Santa Rosa Beach and Thomas Howells, 22, of Santa Rosa Beach. After gathering more information during the investigation, both were arrested and charged with Burglary of a Structure and Criminal Mischief.
The two have also been linked to several other burglaries in the Driftwood Estates area. Howells has additionally been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, two counts of Burglary, one count of Dealing in Stolen Property, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm and one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly. Arceo has been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm, and two counts of Burglary.
Both were transported for booking to the Walton County Department of Corrections. Arceo was subsequently transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice Detention Center in Crestview. This continues to be an active investigation.
A group of deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) recently attended a three day bike patrol course in South Walton. Members of the WCSO POP (Problem Oriented Policing) Squad were chosen for the class and were trained in various riding techniques and scenarios involving obstacles which test both the technical aspects, as well as judgment skills of the riders. A written exam was also administered. Deputies logged in over 26 miles during the training, riding along the major highways and by-ways. Trainers from local law enforcement agencies facilitated the training.
According to Captain Brian Schultz, who participated in the course, this is the first bike squad the WCSO has incorporated into their patrols. “We feel that the use of proactive bike patrol is just another tool in locating and fighting criminal activity,” Schultz said. “Deputies began their patrols a couple of nights ago in several different areas of the county. People were pleasantly surprised to see our presence on bikes in their neighborhoods.” Members of the bike squad were also recently called out to assist in locating a female lost in the woods in the area of Linton Road.
Captain Michael Howell, another agency member who attended the training, stated there are many benefits in having a bike patrol, for both Agency and the community. “Bike patrols can go where traditional patrol vehicles can’t. This is one of the biggest advantages. They have the ability to navigate swiftly around communities, avoiding obstacles and hazards that would stop or slow vehicle patrols. Bicycle patrols also result in more than twice as many contacts with the public than vehicle patrols.” Howell also added, “Bikes are essential for community policing initiatives. Targeted enforcement, surveillance, traffic enforcement, and public order are just a few ways in which we intend to deploy the bike patrol units.”
If you feel there is an area of the county in which bike patrol would be beneficial, contact Capt. Schultz at 850-892-8186 or [email protected].