Local residents beware, at least three suspected scams have been reported in the last week to the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office.
Last week, officers warned about a scam by someone pretending to be selling items to raise funds for the county D.A.R.E. program. The D.A.R.E deputy noted that the department does not go door-to-door nor does it cold call individuals in its fundraising efforts. All legitimate requests for donations to assist D.A.R.E. will be made by HCSO D.A.R.E. deputy Brad Cummings or other officer designated specifically to help and will be publicized in advance; the person will have a badge from the sheriff’s department.
This week, deputies have received reports of potential asphalt paving, IRS phone call and water line insurance letters scams, according to sheriff’s reports.
Deputies recently contacted people who’d been going to rural residences asking to put down asphalt over an older drive or pave an unpaved driveway and warned them the consequences of running an asphalt paving or any other type of scam in the county.
As the mercury rises, it’s not uncommon to see reports of these types of scams go up, too. Generally, someone offers to pave a driveway in an effort to con the person out of more money for the job than was indicated. This generally is done by charges per square foot. And, sometimes, a portion of the cost is requested upfront or additional funds demanded from the scammer, who claims more materials were needed. Sometimes, the person requests the money upfront or at least a portion of it after a specified portion of the “job” it complete. The work is generally shoddy and once funds are exchanged often not completed.
Lewis Tatum, chief investigator for HCSO, cautions residents to be wary of any would-be pavers soliciting services at their residence. In fact, he advised anyone who is approached about paving at their residence to contact the sheriff’s office immediately so an officer can be sent to handle the situation. Simply close the door and contact authorities, he said. Any descriptions about the “pavers” and vehicles are helpful also.
The chief investigator said the department is also investigating letters sent to county residents purported to be from the county about insurance for their water line. He advises residents to be very leery of such offers and to contact the sheriff’s office so they can check it out.
“These letters were sent to residents of Hopkins County saying they are from the county, but there is no water system in Hopkins County doing that. This is an independent person doing that. We are not sure if this is a scam or a legitimate offer for insurance, so we want people to beware. Contact us before you sign up for anything like that, and we can look into it,” Tatum recommends.
Dispatchers also Tuesday got a call from someone reporting a potential IRS scam. They caller reported receiving an automated call claiming to be from the IRS. Deputies advised the caller not to call the number back as it’s likely a scam to run up charges on their bill and potentially to get confidential personal information.
These are the latest in a round of scams that generally surface this time of year and around the holidays. The sheriff’s office wants to make people aware of them. Tatum says people can generally avoid becoming victims of cons if they remember one simple rule:
“If it’s too good to be true, it is. If it it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If someone calls, approaches you or sends a letter, contact the sheriff’s office to alert us. Or if you get a letter, destroy it,” he advises.
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