Scammers pose as Sevier County law enforcement

Scammers are pretending to be Chief Deputy Michael Hodge, according to officials.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:30 PM EST
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SEVIER CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - In Sevier County, the Sheriff’s Office is urging caution to residents who may get a suspicious phone call.

The same phone call Kim Osborne received on Tuesday. When she answered the phone the voice on the other line said, “This is Chief Deputy Michael Hodges with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.”

According to the Chief Deputy himself, that’s the first step in an ongoing investigation into a scam that’s been taking place. Hodge said while several people have called these fraudulent calls in, one person fell victim. According to an incident report, one woman sent scammers $900 and knew quickly after that it was a scam.

Hodge said scammers are calling and telling people that they’re going to be arrested if they don’t pay money, after they claim the person on the other end of the line missed jury duty.

“We do not operate that way, we will never operate that way, the court system doesn’t operate that way,” said Hodge.

How it works, is scammers have asked people to go to a local Pacecar Express on Pittman Center Road and deposit funds into a bitcoin machine.

“It’s an ATM that doesn’t give money back it takes money into bitcoin and put’s it into an account. And they give you an electronic wallet with the bitcoin funds in there. And you can go and exchange that which is what those guys are doing that are running the scam,” Hodge said.

While Osborne didn’t fall for the scam, she admits that at first the person on the other end of the line seemed nice and believable. Eventually she realized what was happening, hung up, and called the scam into the sheriff’s office, as she now encourages others to do the same.

The sheriff’s office said two confirmed numbers associated with the scam are 865-361-2413 and 865-868-3273.

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