Beware of wire scams
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office warns that frequently circulating wire scams are again winding their way through Haywood County, and residents are urged to take caution.
One common scam being used here involves a stranger calling and pretending to be a distant family member who has run into trouble while out of town or overseas. The caller asks the person to wire money on their behalf to the address of their “representative,” often a purported lawyer or member of the American consulate.
Once the money has been wired, usually to other countries, it is quickly picked up by the scammers. The suspects are long gone before an investigation can be launched.
“We want to make people aware that this is out there, and to be careful,” said Haywood County Detective Bruce Warren. “There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. If you’re not sure who you are talking with, don’t give out any additional information.”
A similar fraud is being used by hackers who highjack people’s email accounts and pretend to be the account-holder. They send out a desperate-sounding email to everyone on the persons’ contact list, saying things like they have been falsely arrested and need bond money, or they have been robbed while on vacation and need money to help them get home.
Detectives said these criminals often target elderly citizens who may not immediately recognize the voice or email as being that of a stranger.
To reduce the risk of being a victim of this type of crime, detectives recommend not responding to the email or caller, and instead contact known family members to verify before taking action.
For additional information, or to report criminal activity, please contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666.