Watch For Scams
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents to beware of potential scams that may be circulating.
With it being tax time, scammers may use the guise of being with the IRS in order to obtain financial information from would-be victims.
The Internal Revenue Service reported last week that they have recently seen a spike in reports where fraudulent IRS Agents are calling citizens and telling them that they owe back taxes. The “Agent” is advising the victim to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay the balance or to wire the money to a specific account.
Residents who question it are threatened with arrest, loss of business licenses and / or driver’s licenses among other penalties.
Actual IRS Agents typically begin communicating with residents by sending a letter in the mail.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office has not been advised of any of our residents being victimized by this scam, but as always, you should not provide any personal information, such as your birthdate, bank account information or social security number to anyone calling you. In addition, it’s important to know that these sophisticated scam artists may already have some of that information and ask you to confirm it. There is no need to do so. If they call you, you should not feel obligated to confirm or provide any personal information.
Our office has, however, received several reports of failed attempts to scam residents by a caller claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House and announcing the citizen won a sweepstakes. The criminal tells the would-be victim that taxes are to be paid before they can process the prize, so they suggest the would-be victim obtain a pre-paid debit or store card for the amount due in taxes and provide the card information.
While the actual Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes is legitimate, they never contact the winner of a major prize over the phone. Either they will send a certified (not bulk) letter by mail or arrive unannounced with the well known “Prize Patrol.”
You should never have to pay a company or organization if you won a prize.
Also this time of year, residents should be cautious about unsolicited contractors, such as those asking to seal your driveway, repair your deck, roof etc…
They may attempt to pressure you into providing partial payment immediately and not return to start or complete the job. Anytime someone tries to pressure you into making a financial decision immediately, without giving you time to think things over, a red flag should go up and you should be suspect of their motives.
There are many qualified and professional contractors in our area. If you need work done, we recommend asking friends, family or the local Chamber of Commerce and inquire about established businesses. You can then call the recommended contractor yourself and ask for additional references.
As always, if someone uninvited comes to your home that makes you feel nervous or uncomfortable, please contact our office, or your local police department. We are happy to come out, identify them and attempt to determine if they are legitimate or not.
These are just a few examples of frequent scams. There are many others, including the foreign lottery scam, loved one in a foreign prison and needing bail scam and others.
The Sheriff’s Office just wants everyone to remain vigilant and verify the legitimacy of anything that seems suspicious.