According to WATE-TV in Knoxville, the Knoxville, TN FBI field office is reporting a “new twist on an old scam.” Scammers are scaring victims by telling them their child was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (DUI) after a serious crash.
The scammers pose as the child and attorney to demand bail in cash due to COVID-19. The FBI recommends attempting to reach their child to confirm their safety.
There are a lot of things that don’t make sense to those who understand the legal system. Forst of all, while possible, it is unlikely that an attorney would be the first to contact a loved one after an arrest. It is much more likely to be the child and/or a bonding company making the call to post bond. Secondly, a cash payment is more likely to transmit COVID-19 than a credit card or check. Third, the bail money must be paid directly to an officer at the jail or court clerk, so the lawyer would not typically be involved in that transaction.
Finally, many, if not most, of the jails and court clerks’ offices in Tennessee report recent arrests and/the court dockets online. The fastest way to verify an arrest is online through the respective county Sheriff’s Department. For instance, one may click here for the Knox County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Inmate List.
Don’t let a scammer prey on you by scaring you into making a quick decision. While jail may not be the most pleasant place, there is likely no harm taking the time to verify the situation. Moreover, there may be a better method to make bond–whether it is through a bonding company, or otherwise. Learn more about making bail bonds by listening to this podcast.
About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD.
He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 8th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen). Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions. He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and six foreign countries. After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019. If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.