CALIFORNIA — The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has issued a special bulletin on July 8 warning against potential scammers impersonating police personnel to collect payments.

LASD wrote in a statement online warning that if one receives a payment request by phone call, email, or any form of communication from someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff or any other LASD personnel, “do not comply.”

The Sheriff’s Department emphasized that “Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel will never ask for payment over the phone or by email.”

An LASD spokesperson spoke with Canyon News and said in regard to recent scammers, “It’s been a large amount, but I can’t give an exact amount… we get a lot of phone calls where people say they feel they might have been a victim of a scam.”

In an effort to help the community prevent scammers, the LASD detailed online the many tactics scammers commonly use.

In order to present a sense of legitimacy, scammers will conduct social media and Internet reconnaissance on their intended victims. Often scammers will spoof government or law enforcement phone numbers to increase their persuasion.

Scammers may threaten victims with arrest for outstanding warrants or other legal issues and request payment for these fines with Bitcoin or gift cards. Once the Bitcoin or gift cards are bought, the scammers may request the Bitcoin key or gift card number over the phone, and then swiftly hang up.

LASD also detailed a list of prevention methods to help protect oneself from scammers. The LASD recommends verifying a contact’s phone number through a phone book or online, although the possibility of spoofing a phone number still exists. If feeling threatened by a caller, simply hang up and verify their story.

Above all, the LASD emphasizes that they will never request payments through the phone or online. All LASD payments are handled either at patrol stations, courthouses, or custody facilities.