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Asheville woman became skeptical when scammer mispronounced 'Buncombe County'

Lucy Hazelhurst says she knew something was fishy when a suspected scam artist mispronounced Buncombe County. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Lucy Hazelhurst says she knew something was fishy when a suspected scam artist mispronounced Buncombe County.

"I really believe that most people are good people," she told us, referring to people who don't threaten to arrest her elderly mom.

According to a search warrant application, Lucy contacted authorities last month after someone pretending to be a law enforcement officer called demanding $1491.

"My mother had missed jury duty," she recalls the man tell her. "She either had to pay a fine or go to jail."

That's when the fear kicked in.

"Normally I would pay attention to something like that, I would know it was a scam," she says. "But he was so authentic."

She tells us he wanted payment with a prepaid Green Dot card, but her fear quickly turned to healthy skepticism.

"And once again I asked him where he worked and he said I'm with the Sheriff's Office in 'Buncom-bee' County," she says, repeating his mispronunciation. "And as soon as he said 'Buncom-bee' County, I got a little suspicious."

After consulting with her attorney, she didn't pay.

According to court documents, another victim came forward with a similar story just a few days later. Once again, the suspected scam artist wanted payment with a prepaid card.

Such scams are on the rise, prompting Sheriff Van Duncan to post a public service announcement online, warning that criminals pose as everything from cops to the IRS.

"There is absolutely no validity to this whatsoever," Sheriff Duncan says. "If somebody calls you and tries to collect money from any government entity, with the threat of arrest, you can disregard that as a scam."

Lucy says her mother was horrified.

Both of them, far less trusting about people who call.

"Every bit of it was made up, every bit of it!" she said.

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