Scammers claim to be government representatives

Published 9:43 am Thursday, November 20, 2014

Police are warning area residents of a recent telephone scam where the caller claims to be a government representative.
Residents report that people claiming to represent state or local government agencies — including police and sheriff’s departments — are telling them legal action will be taken against them if they do not pay some type of fine or fee within a designated time period.
“The window of time mentioned is typically an unreasonable expected amount of time, such as one hour,” Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Joy Shoun said.
The caller then tells the resident the fee can be paid over the telephone to avoid further legal action and asks for the resident’s bank account information over the phone.
“This is not common practice among local government office,s and such calls should be seen as suspicious and potential scams,” Shoun said.
The calls are showing up from a variety of telephone numbers, including local and out-of-area phone numbers. Just because a phone call appears to come from a local number does not mean the call is legitimate, Shoun said. Technology and computer programs can be used to simulate local phone numbers even when the call is coming from another location.
“We hope that the general public will be cautious if contacted in such a manner,” Shoun said.

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