From Staff Reports

On Friday, Sept. 28, the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department issued a scam warning to citizens.

According to the press release, a group of individuals is calling Unicoi County citizens in an attempt to scam money from them. Recently this group was able to acquire $8,000 from a senior citizen living in the county.

Sheriff Mike Hensley reports that this group will call on the phone and say that someone known by you is in jail or in trouble out of town. They will represent themselves to be law enforcement or a lawyer. This group will give instructions on how to send money to get this loved one out of jail. This could include various gift cards, credit cards or cash advance checks or Western Union transactions.

“The bottom line is: Do not send money to anyone,” Hensley said. “Law enforcement will not contact you soliciting money, period.”

If someone calls on the phone requesting that money be sent, you should automatically assume it is a scam.

“More and more increasingly we are getting reports of different scams taking place,” Hensley said. “Once this money is sent out of the country, it cannot be recaptured.”

The sheriff also advised that anyone who receives one of these calls and feels compelled to send money should contact his office first.

“We will assist anyone to verify if a loved one or acquaintance is incarcerated anywhere in the country,” Hensley said.