Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Warns of Phone Scam Involving the Knox County Court

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Posted: 2020-12-07

KNOXVILLE, TN, December 7, 2020 – Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond has issued a warning that a common “Grandparent Scam” is using the Knox County Court to legitimize their fraudulent calls. The scam involves a person claiming to be an officer of the court representing their grandchild and asking the grandparent to pay for a bond.

“With the holiday season, these scams increase in frequency,” Hammond said.

Recently, a 94-year old Grandfather received a call stating his grandson was arrested and incarcerated for a domestic case in the Knox County Court. The Grandfather was told to pay $5,000 for a $50,000 bond and not to contact other relatives at the grandson’s request to keep his arrest a secret. A phone number was given, which appears to be fraudulent and part of the scam.

Criminal Court Clerk Hammond suggests the following to protect citizens from phone scams:

  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls you over the phone seeking personal information or money. If you owe money, you will receive a legitimate notice in writing that identifies the agency and why you owe money.
  • Never give out personal and sensitive information, including your Social Security number and bank account information, to individuals over the phone. Also, be sure to verify the authenticity of the caller independently.
  • Legitimate law enforcement agencies or government organizations will never threaten arrest or deportation for failure to pay a debt.
  • Legitimate government agencies will never insist consumers pay a debt only via a prepaid card, gift card, or wire transfer.

Persons who believe they have been a victim of a scam should call the Sheriff or Knoxville Police at (865) 215-7000.