PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon City residents are being told to think twice if they get a call from someone claiming to be a police officer.

Authorities said they have received reports from community members where a scammer contacts them claiming to be a member of the Oregon City Police Department.

In the calls, the person pretending to be law enforcement often refers to the victim by name and tells them they are under an investigation which can only be avoided by sending money or making a purchase, according to OCPD.

Police warned the public not to trust the number appearing on the phone as scammers can sometimes “spoof” legitimate law enforcement agencies’ numbers and use actual officers’ names.

“The Oregon City Police Department does not call individuals and demand or request money under any circumstances,” the agency said in a post to Facebook. “The Oregon City Police Department or any other law enforcement agency does not call community members seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants.”

OCPD offered these tips to avoid falling victim to similar scams:

  • Never give out personal information to someone over the phone or email that contacted you unexpectedly.
  • Be wary of callers who demand money for any service immediately.
  • Update privacy settings on social media accounts. Scammers can target individuals’ information from publicly visible social media pages, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to make the con more believable.
  • Official agencies and utility companies do not contact people for payment by GreenDot, iTunes, or other kinds of prepaid payments.
  • Do not wire money or give card information to strangers.

Scammers often try to scare victims into getting the money and are very demanding, police said. If in doubt, authorities advised people to find the number for their local law enforcement office and call it directly.

Oregon City residents can reach OCPD by calling the non-emergency line at 503-655-8211.