MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
The McMinn County Sheriff's Office tells Channel 3 that a scam that began a few days ago has scammers impersonating Sheriff Joe Guy, his officers, and even local judges in an effort to extort money from citizens.
According to Sheriff Guy, the scammers call unsuspecting citizens and claim to be “Sheriff Joe Guy”, and go on to say that the citizen either missed a court date or has an upcoming court date involving a hefty fine, but the caller offers to “take care of it over the phone”.
The scammers tell their victims to get a self-paid credit card, put money on the card in the amount of the “fine”, and then call the fake “Sheriff’s Office” back with the card number.
“It’s a new spin on an old scam. Except the person claiming to be me makes threats of arrest if the fine is not paid, and even uses the names of local judges, and the calls come from local numbers to make the scam more believable. The scammers are using the good name of our office to extort money out of our citizens,” said Joe Guy, McMinn County Sheriff.
The McMinn County Sheriff's Office does not collect fines, does not collect fines over the phone, and does make phone calls to threaten to arrest anyone for not paying a fine, and does not ask for fines to be paid with a self-paid credit card.
The sheriff's office tells Channel 3 that over 100 citizens have received these calls, and several have been victimized for amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000. Elderly people seem to be specifically targeted.
Anyone who receives a call from a Sheriff’s or Police Department should call 911 immediately and report the number where the call is coming from to authorities.
The McMinn County Sheriff's Office are doing their best to trace the numbers.
The Sheriff's Office also asks local retail stores who sell prepaid credit cards to ask customers if they are buying the card to pay a fine for court, and if so to inform the customer of the scam.