Local police are warning residents not to fall victim to phone scammers posing as law enforcement officials demanding payment of a fine.
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office says it has received numerous complaints of a phone scam occurring in the area in which the caller pretended to be a law enforcement official and claimed the resident failed to appear for jury duty or had an outstanding warrant for their arrest. The scammer encouraged victims to withdraw money and/or transfer money to green dot cards to pay a fine or penalty, or attempted to obtain personal account information.
Anyone with information regarding this scam should call the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office at 865-453-4668.
This is a new version of a phone scam the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office warned residents and businesses about in September this year. At that time, con artists posed as the Sevier County Electric System and threatened to turn the power off if the victim did not pay an overdue electric bill over the phone. There were also reports of scammers posing as agents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who told callers they would be arrested if they did not pay an amount of taxes due.
There are reports of the “overdue electric bill” scam and similar phone scams occurring across the county. The caller may pose as a representative of government agency or business and may even have victim’s address, account number or other information. The scammer’s story may vary, but there is always a demand for a payment over the phone. Consumers can avoid being victimized by hanging up the phone and calling the government agency or business phone number listed on their bill directly. Those who believe they may have been a victim of a scam should contact their local police department.
Warn friends and family members of these phone scams, especially elderly people who may be more vulnerable to fraud. Learn more about other common fraud schemes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). There are also a number of scams targeting the elderly.