BY DAVID BENBOW
There are many wonderful people who call Iredell County home. I have lived here most of my life and raised my children here. I have chosen to live here and to practice law here for over 48 years. In my law practice I hear lots of sad stories.
Recently, I have noticed an uptick in stories about scammers. Scammers are no good, low life, lazy, dishonest folks who are trying to make money by lying to unsuspecting, good people.
A scammer may pretend to be a foreign prince and send an email asking you to furnish your banking information and/or identity information. Don’t do it! This is a scam!
A scammer may send a letter that looks like a legitimate correspondence from the IRS seeking your banking information for a refund due to you. Don’t do it! This is a scam! When in doubt, find the proper number for the IRS by calling your accountant or your attorney, and find out for yourself.
The scheme that angers me the most involves a scammer who calls and tells you that you have missed jury duty and claims that there is a warrant for your arrest. Don’t believe it! This is a scam! Hang up. If you are worried, then initiate a telephone call to the Iredell County Clerk of Court’s Office and ask about jury duty. The nice staff at the courthouse can help you. The courthouse staff sends letters in the mail about jury duty. If you haven’t received a letter, then you haven’t missed jury duty.
When a scammer calls, your caller ID may show the correct phone number for the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office or your bank’s actual phone number, or the actual phone number of your church, or the courthouse’s actual phone number. Don’t fall for this! It is a scam!
You may be told that you will be arrested if you don’t go to Food Lion or another store and get cash cards totaling the amount of your bond. Don’t do it! This is a scam! The scammers have even used the names of real deputies or an assistant district attorney or even a current judge’s name. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office will never ask you to pay money for a warrant.
I am familiar with all of these types of fraudulent claims because my clients have told me about them. Don’t fall for any of these! Don’t ever give money or your personal information to these scammers and don’t give them any money.
Older people are more susceptible to being scammed. Talk to your older friends and relatives and tell them not to be intimidated by a phone caller and if they have any doubt they should hang up! If doubts persist, initiate a phone call to the proper authorities and then find out. Call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and explain what you were told to do. Or drive to the Sheriffs Office and speak to the nice, helpful staff there. Don’t be embarrassed. These scammers sound very convincing. If you have any doubt, then call and find out. When in doubt, find out!
Don’t become a victim of scammers. Encourage your friends and relatives to help put a stop to these dishonest, lazy, selfish, low-life scammers by refusing to give them information and refusing to give them credit card and cash card information.
David Benbow is a Statesville attorney.