Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye is warning residents of Avery County, and the High Country, of a series of scams making the rounds. Earlier this year Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman warned of scams involving fictitious warrants and jury scam and callers posing as IRS agents. Blue Ridge Electric earlier this year also warned of a telephone scam targeting their members.
Below is the text of Sheriff Frye’s statement:
Recently we have been inundated with multiple scams or possible scams which are running through our area. Please be aware there are so many it is impossible to list them all, but here are a few which I know have been seen recently.
1) Mail Scams—These include letters from IRS saying you owe money and if you pay a certain lower amount they will not charge you. Letters saying you have won a prize or lottery or Publisher’s Clearing house but you have to send them some money first. In all scams involving winnings you will have to pay first before you get your reward or prize, 99.9% of the time this indicates it is a scam.
2) Phone Scams—One of the most recent is stating you have missed jury duty and if you pay a certain amount a warrant will not be issued. Another is a friend or family member is in jail and if you send a certain amount of money they can be set free. Others include much the same as the mail scams and one of the most common is the IRS calling and saying you owe taxes and need to pay a certain amount.
3) Internet Scams— One of the most used is answering an ad on some internet site, especially Craigslist. You agree to buy something or sell something and they send you a check which is much larger than the original amount. They call and tell you they made a mistake and want you to send the other part of the money back as soon as possible. The check they send you will be a fraud and then they have your good check and money and bank information.
4) Finally we have had paving scams in the area again, they all have “left over” pavement and will sell it at a cut rate cost. They use very cheap cold patch pavement and charge an enormous amount of money. We have also had a man in a green Hyundai car with TN plates going from church to church soliciting money. Apparently his story has changed several times, so we are suspicious, if anyone has someone meeting this description please notify law enforcement and try to get a license tag number of the vehicle he is driving so we can inquire about this situation.
Unfortunately scams usually hurt those who can least afford it so please remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is and never ever give out personal financial information to anyone you do not know for sure you can trust.