During the investigations, officials have determined individuals are calling and representing themselves as foreign police officers.
During phone conversations, the individuals proceed to inform the victims one of their grandchildren or a family member has been involved in an accident with a rental car. They go on to add while renting the car, no insurance was utilized, and the damages must be repaired prior to the family member being released from jail or from the country.
One local citizen, according to Sheriff Mike Heaton, attempted to assist their grandchild, by sending the requested money by Western Union. Once the individuals received the payment, they contacted the victim again.
At that time, the individuals indicated more damage had been done to local utilities and more money needed to be sent to them. Over a series of transaction, the local victim lost more than $18,000 in the scam.
"Ultimately, we all want to help loved ones who are in need," Heaton said. "However, we must also verify who we are helping. In the event you receive a call such as the one described above, please ask the caller several questions."
Heaton said the questions to ask include:
* The location in which they are calling from,
* The company they are working,
* Their name,
* Their phone number,
* Their agency and badge number if they are representing themselves as an officer.
"By obtaining this information, you can tell the individual that you will contact them as soon as you have verified the incident," Heaton said. "Take this time to contact your local family member and verify whether or not they have been involved in an incident or if they are even out of town.
"More than likely, you will discover that all the information you had been given was not true. If this is the case, please contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office or your local police department."
Heaton said the individuals responsible for the scam are targeting the emotional attachment of family members.
The scam, according to officials, has circulated through the area before and it seems more incidents are taking place now.
"Please be cautious of any and all calls requesting money unless you are familiar with the particular organization or individual," Heaton said.