If someone calls you claiming to be the Washington County Sheriff's Office and demanding money, hang up.

Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies are taking a proactive approach to cut off a phone scam that hit members of the public over the weekend.

During the call, a suspect will tell the victim they had a warrant and needed to pay money or risk arrest. The caller demands cash or a pre-paid "Green Dot" card, and is able to provide some private information such as birth dates or addresses.

Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jeff Talbot said the scam has already fooled a handful of county residents, and deputies have fielded dozens of calls reporting the scam. Calls began on Sunday and appear to be more concentrated than previous scams, Talbot said.

Deputies are investigating the calls, taking each report and looking for consistencies between phone numbers, but Talbot said it can be difficult to pin down this type of scammer.

Talbot said educating the public should hinder the scam's success, especially as the Sheriff's Office does not accept payment over the phone.

"The biggest point is, if we catch them, there are still 12,000 more scammers," Talbot said. "We need to stop the market. If it no longer becomes profitable, I guarantee the calls will stop."

If anyone as received a suspicious call over the last few days — especially a call from the Sheriff's Office demanding money — Talbot said they should hang up and call the agency directly to ask for confirmation. Residents should take note of the phone number and time of the call.

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