A reader from Straight Mountain called last week to alert us to a scam call he received. The scammer posed as a Verizon representative. The gentleman was thankfully not fooled.

The Snead Police Department posted the following information on Facebook last week. We reprint it here because it’s good information for all Blount Countians. Scam Alert

We have seen an increase in the number of reports of people being scammed over the last couple of weeks in our jurisdiction. Here are a few reminders to help you avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

• If someone contacts you on social media (Facebook, Messenger, etc.) or by text message and says they are from a government agency (IRS, Social Security, FBI, etc.), it’s a scam. Government agencies do not initially contact people via social media or text message.

• If the person on the other end wants you to put money on gift cards and send them pictures of the gift cards or information off the gift cards, it’s a scam. No legitimate organization is going to take payment with gift cards.

• If someone says your child or grandchild is in jail and needs bail money, and you need to deliver cash to someone in a parking lot, it’s a scam. Cash for bail is paid directly to a court clerk either at the court clerk’s office or at the jail.

• If someone says your child or grandchild has been hurt in an automobile accident and the hospital needs money before they will treat them, it’s a scam. Any hospital is going to treat the patient and worry about billing later.

• If someone calls you and asks you to provide any type of account numbers (checking, savings, debit or credit card) or personally identifying information (date of birth, Social Security number, PINs, passwords, etc.) over the phone, it’s a scam.

Always be extremely skeptical of anyone that contacts you by social media, text, or phone wanting money in some form or fashion. If you legitimately owe a business or government entity money, they are going to send you a bill in the mail.

If you believe that you have been a vicitim of a scam, call your local law enforcement agency.