With tens of billions of scam and robo phone calls reaching Americans throughout the nation annually, many receivers choose — wisely — to press the decline button on their phone apps or simply not take the call if they are unsure who is attempting to contact them.

But what about a call that appears to be from a trusted local source?

In Ashe County, one trusted source is the men and women of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, and because of this, Sheriff B. Phil Howell has issued an alert for phone calls that might not be who they appear to be from.

Howell reports that several Ashe County residents are receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be detectives from the ACSO. Further, they use the real names of local detectives in their scam call to lend authenticity to the ruse.

The scam typically involved a supposed family member who has been arrested in Ashe County and who is in need of bail money. The money, of course, can be easily delivered in the form of money or gift cards.

Howell notes that this scam has a long history — it’s known as the Family Member Impersonation Scam — but he’s asking Ashe County residents to cut it short.

No legitimate law officer is going to ask a caller to deliver money or gift cards to bail a person out of jail. If you get such a call, hang up without engaging with the impersonator. To report such interactions, call the ACSO at (336) 846-5600.

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