KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Mayor’s Office is warning business owners and managers about a scam.
Multiple hotel managers alerted the mayor’s office after they received a letter stating the county had contacted a new agency to provide fire, rescue and medical services. The letter named this new agency, “Rapid Response Emergency Services Inc.”
Keith Dryjanski is the general manager at the West Knoxville Baymont by Wyndham Hotel and said a man delivered the letter directly to the front desk of the hotel.
“He told me that they needed $10 per room per night, as revenue for their services, I was like, ‘No, that doesn’t sound right, that doesn’t sound right,'” Dryjanski said.
The letter directed hotels to charge guests extra fees that would go towards paying Rapid Response Emergency Services Inc. and requested them to fill out account information for payment.
“It just seemed like a scam from the beginning, the letter I got looked like a copy of a copy and I called the mayor’s office right away. They said they had received other phone calls regarding the same thing,” Dryjanski said.
The mayor’s office warned others about the scam in a tweet, after receiving Dryjanski and others’ reports. Knox County Public Safety Director Brent Seymour said the process to change the provider for these emergency services would be much more than sending a letter.
“Please do not pay those, that is not anything that the county has contracted with anyone to do whatsoever, and obviously anything that would ever be done like that would be a very long legislative process to get those types of things initiated, not something that would happen as quick as June 1st,” Seymour said.
Seymour urges business owners to do their research before paying any kind of fee.
“Reach out and call the persons or person that they’re supposedly representing, please reach out and contact those agencies to see if they have done anything like that. Many of the agencies that we deal with, it’s not going to be a phone call, it’s not going to be a random correspondence it’ll be something structured that will be delivered the way a business owner or occupancy owner is used to seeing those types of messages.”