Sheriff Mike Hensley said the scammers have been telling victims that a family member or friend of theirs has been arrested and being held in jail on bond, usually a couple thousand dollars.
The caller will then claim the process can be kept confidential and the family member will be released from jail if a bond payment is made via credit, debit, electronic check or green dot money card.
Oftentimes, the scam artists will use the name of a close friend or family member, the press release stated.
Under no circumstance should anyone provide financial information over the phone to someone posing as the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, Hensley said.
If you are contacted and told a loved one is in the Unicoi County Jail, contact the jail directly at 423-743-1858 or dispatch at 423-743-1850 for direct information about incarcerated individuals.
Hensley is asking anyone who’s received these calls to contact his office immediately.