Last Updated on February 26, 2021 8:12 pm
Sheriff Len Hagaman and Captain Carolynn Johnson are warning local residents to not fall for the latest phone scam occurring locally.
Caller tells the person answering the phone that they are a grandchild or family member and that something tragic has happened. (All callers have reported that the initial caller does sound similar to their grandchildren or family member).
Possible incidents they have described- wrecks, dui’s, drug incidents, or even death cases
Suspect caller goal: they then ask for bail money, immediately to be paid by gift cards or Wal Mart money transfer. In some cases they additionally tell the victim they have to talk to a Judge, an Attorney or a bondsman to pay immediately.
Victims believe it is their loved one and that they are in trouble, they are taken off guard and/or surprised, feeling the need to help out
Victims who question the validity of the call then get threatened to be arrested, or in a few instances that they will come to their house and assault or murder them.
What they need to know:
Judges, Attorney’s, and Bondsman do not call family members asking for money. No part of the judicial process involves these authorities taking money over the phone via gift cards or Wal Mart money transfers.
In fact if any “agency” or so called representative is calling you asking for money to be paid immediately, by wire transfers, by gift cards, by giving your bank account information, or your debit card, it is probably a scam. Please air on the side of caution. If you are not sure, hang up and call the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office or Law Enforcement agency who serves the jurisdiction you are in for clarification. If you give money to these scammers it will be gone forever without the ability to be recovered.