NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many scams start off sounding like they could be real.
“I guess it was later that I found out it was a very bad idea,” said Trisha Robbins, a victim of a home improvement scam.
Scammers try to catch victims when they’re most vulnerable or short on time.
“I was about to get in my car because I was running late for a doctors appointment,” Robbins said. “And I see Glen driving by and he slows down, backs up, and gets out. He comes right up to me and starts telling me about this great deal that he can get me on my driveway.”
It seems like a great deal. That’s often how it starts, especially with the scheme we’re highlighting first: home improvement scams.
A man reportedly conned Robbins after he offered to re-do her driveway in Hermitage for just $200.
“He said, ‘if it’s cash money, I’ll do it for $200’ and I said, ‘$200? Well, I’ll do it,'” Robbins told News 2. “So I told him to follow me to the gas station and we used the ATM, and I gave him $200 cash.”
She never saw Glen again. Robbins reported this to Metro police, who said this scam is common. Several neighbors in her area posted on Facebook that Glen approached them as well.
“He says, he wants to do it for advertising; he wants to stick a sign in the yard,” neighbor Timothy Tant said. “So he’s trying to make it seem that it’s to his benefit if anything to build your confidence.”
One of the most common and fruitful tactics scammers employ is taking advantage of people’s emotions, specifically when it comes to romance scams.
Pat Wilhoit sent $5,600 to a scammer posing as a veteran on Facebook. The man claimed he needed the money to fly to Tennessee.
Vanessa Wyrick sent $5,000 to a man she met online who promised a large return on her investment.
“At first I thought it was the real deal,” Wyrick said. “He seemed honest and trustworthy.”
Two things scammers are not: honest and trustworthy. But they sure make it sound that way, like those posing in law enforcement scams. They threaten fines, arrest and even jail time.
“It just really makes you feel vulnerable,” said Liz West, who was targeted in a law enforcement scam.
This summer someone pretended to be an animal control officer in Cheatham County. The person texted West claiming “distressed animals” had been reported at her home and requested a wellness check.
Cheatham County animal control said a complaint was not filed against West. The scammer was hoping she would call back and turn over personal information.
In other law enforcement scams, they’re after money.
A Williamson County woman was conned out of $10,000 after someone claiming to be a sergeant threatened to arrest her if she didn’t pay up for missing two bogus court dates. The person called multiple times upping the ante and asking for more money in the form of gift and pre-paid cards, a huge red flag.
“The court system will not contact them via phone,” Detective Lee Eaves said. “They will not call. They will not text them. The best thing you can do is hang up.”
If you still have concerns, call the law enforcement agency directly. They will be able to set the record straight and make a note of the scam call so they can warn others.
News 2 is helping you fight back against other holiday scams. We expose scammers tricks in our Holiday ScamBusters special reports all day Monday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.