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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — People are working hard these days, and most areas of the economy are looking better than they have in the past few years. One group following the money, especially in retirement areas, are scammers.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office presented tips today to help you avoid being scammed.

Scams offering you something for nothing or very little are hooking victims in our area. Brunswick County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Carter spoke out about what you need to watch out for.

“Right now with our retirement base being large here, a lot of the lottery scams and phone scams are my biggest culprits,” Carter said.

Ralph Nazzaro, while not a typical victim, was scammed. He wants to warn others.

“I received a phone call, and I fell victim to this scam, and recently I received similar phone calls and after learning a hard lesson I just immediately get off the phone,” Nazzaro said.

One big target area for scammers is the elderly

“The biggest thing with the older population is to remind them if they receive a message or an e-mail from someone, they don’t recognize or a place of business that they simply delete the message and move on,” Carter said.

Just because you are scammed once, don’t expect the fraud to end there

“This happened one time before,” Nazzaro said, “and I brought the money orders to my bank, and the bank informed me that the money orders although they look authentic, they were fraudulent.”

Money orders are the currency of choice for scammers, because they’re good around the world, and most scams are not based here.

“The biggest thing with the lottery scam is if it’s a prize you didn’t enter,” Carter said. “You can’t win it.”

Det. Carter says be careful, and if it looks like a scam, call law enforcement.

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