KPD: Scam calls becoming ‘more elaborate and threatening’

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department says scam calls are becoming “more elaborate and threatening,” but there are ways to protect yourself.

Scott Erland with KPD stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share more about scam calls.

Police are getting reports of these types of scam calls regarding:

  • IRS delinquent taxes
  • Utilities board electric bill
  • Police department saying family member has been arrested
  • Social Security office saying number has been compromised
  • Lottery winnings

The list goes on, but the reason these scams work is because the callers put a tremendous amount of initial stress on the victim and that perceived threat and the fear of its consequences are greater than the value of the money.

Typically, the caller will state that there is a situation of some sort that involves either the victim or a family member, which is why some people will do whatever the complete stranger on the line says.

Don’t fall for these types of calls.

What to do

Here are some good reminders to identify a scam before becoming a victim:

  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Real law enforcement and federal agencies will not call and threaten you.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a decision on the spot. There’s never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card to someone you don’t know.
  • Government agencies will not call to confirm sensitive information, like your social security number.
  • Always do your due diligence about the source asking for or demanding money.

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