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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues January 2023 Scams Update

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens, and to prevent them from becoming a victims of a scam, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our January 2023 Scams Update.

The Sheriff’s Office was made aware of calls made to individuals in the county from someone who identified themselves as “Lt. Jeff Underwood with the Sheriff’s Department.” In one voice message, the impersonator asked to be given a call back and left a number. The impersonator stated that he would be out of the office and if someone called him back, he asked them to leave a message.

Another citizen received a call from someone identifying themselves as Jeff Underwood. The impersonator told the citizen that they had missed jury duty and that a warrant would be issued, unless they purchased some prepaid cards to cover their fine. The caller informed the impersonator that they knew it was a scam and hung up.

“Jeff Underwood has been a long time employee of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and has held the rank of Captain since 2013, which he was assigned as the Captain of the Uniform Patrol Bureau,” according to Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer of the Sheriff’s Office. “We ask that if any of our citizens are contacted by “Lt. Underwood” to hang up the phone and contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111 and report it to us. Do not erase any voicemails you may receive as those messages may be considered evidence in an investigation. It is a crime to impersonate a law enforcement officer and if caught, the perpetrator(s) will face arrest and prosecution on those charges.”

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw was notified by the Tax Collector’s Office in Oconee County of a scam letter that was sent to a citizen in regards to receiving a delinquent tax bill in the mail. The balance for this “tax bill” was $14,032.00.The citizen received a “Distraint Warrant” from the Tax Resolution Unit of Oconee County, which does not exist. The Tax

Collector’s Office was going to notify the recipient of the letter that the letter did not come from the Tax Collector’s Office.

“The Tax Collector’s Office attempted to call the telephone number listed on the “Distraint Warrant, however, that number was no longer in service,” says Master Deputy Watt. “The warrant contains some information in regards to garnishment of wages and bank account as well as lien’s being placed on property. A tool of scammers is to create a sense of urgency which could cause a victim to act in a way that they might not do otherwise.

“If you receive a notice similar to this in the mail, we recommend that you do not call or respond to any phone numbers or addresses listed on any document. Contact your local Tax Collector’s Office in the county in which you live and verify this information with them first,” says Master Deputy Watt.

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