East Tennessee phone scammers pretending to be police officers

East Tennessee phone scammers pretending to be police officers

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“People were calling and claiming that they were a representative of the Knox County Sheriff's Office had contacted them and told them that they were in violation of the red light camera violation,” said Lt. Steve Webb. “People were calling and claiming that they were a representative of the Knox County Sheriff's Office had contacted them and told them that they were in violation of the red light camera violation,” said Lt. Steve Webb.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Phone scammers are busy in East Tennessee right now, forcing law enforcement to issue warnings in an effort to keep someone else from becoming a victim. Both the Knox County Sheriff's Office and Rockwood Police Department say the scammers claim to be members of law enforcement calling to collect unpaid fines.

Since January, three law enforcement agencies in East Tennessee have been named in the scam. Now the agencies are warning citizens trying to prevent others from being duped out of hundreds of dollars.

Previous story: Knox County Sheriff's Office warns of another phone scam

Several people in Knox and some surrounding counties have recently fallen victim to the phone scam.

“People were calling and claiming that they were a representative of the Knox County Sheriff's Office had contacted them and told them that they were in violation of the red light camera violation,” said Lt. Steve Webb.

Lt. Steve Webb with the Knox County Sheriff's Office says the caller uses a scam saying a person owes money for missing jury duty or running a red light, and to pay the fine over the phone using a prepaid credit card.

Previous story: Sevierville police warning residents about phone scam

“Knox County Sheriff's Office nor the courts would ever ask anyone to pay money through a GreenDot card or a prepaid credit card of any type,” said Lt. Webb.

Lt. Webb says the sheriff's office will not call and ask for money. He says jury duty and red light camera fines will be issued through the mail.

To make the scam more convincing the caller also says they are a specific detective within the office and an 865 area code shows up on caller ID.

“If someone calls identifying themselves as a member of the Knox County Sheriff's Office, ask their name and their badge number and the unit that they work in and their return telephone number,” said Lt. Webb.

Lt. Webb says to verify the call by calling the agency the person claims to be with.

Previous story: Rockwood police warn of someone impersonating officer in phone scam


This scam was first reported in East Tennessee earlier this year. Residents of Rockwood and Sevierville have been called. The scammer identified themselves as an officer with the police department. Knox County also had 30 reports of this same scam in March.

Lt. Webb believes the callers may be from out of state but that all of the area phone scams are likely connected.

“The information is very specific so that is usually going to be tied to a group that is doing that,” said Lt. Webb.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office looks into every phone scam reported and tries to track the number. Often the call is made from a prepaid phone card. No arrests have been made in Knox County.

If you believe you have been scammed or have a tip contact your local law enforcement agency.

If the scammer is caught, he could face felony charges and hundreds of dollars in fines.

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