McMinn County, Tenn., Sheriff Joe Guy says scammers are calling people, especially elderly residents, claiming to be "Sheriff Joe Guy" and telling them they have missed court dates or have dates upcoming in court involving a "hefty fine."
The scammers tell their potential victims they can "take care of it over the phone," making payment with a prepaid credit card.
"It's a new spin on an old scam, except the person claiming to be me makes threats of arrest if the fine is not paid, and even uses the names of local judges," Guy said. "And the calls come from a local number to make the scam more believable."
The sheriff's office does not collect fines, over the phone or otherwise, does not threaten to arrest anyone for not paying a fine, and does not ask for fines to be paid with a self-paid credit card, the sheriff said.
Residents are warned to report to 911 any attempts to collect court fines over the phone.
If money already has been given to scammers, call the McMinn County Sheriff's Office at 423-745-5622.