The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is reminding people that "no law enforcement agency will EVER call you to demand a payment."
The reason for the stern reminder? The sheriff's office says it's been getting reports of scammers calling people and saying they'll be arrested for missed jury duty, unpaid court fees, and the like — unless, of course, they fork over some cash.
The sheriff released a public statement about the calls on Thursday:
Anyone who receives such a call should hang up, write down the number, call law enforcement or dial 911, the release says.
This is a classic scam (you can read about some of the other greatest hits right here), but as Time Money points out, such skullduggery is getting more and more sophisticated, with "Spoofing" technology making it very easy for fraudsters to make it look like they're calling from legitimate phone numbers.
Though Time says there's not much data on how widespread the problem is, it does note that some 300,000 "imposter" calls were logged nationwide in 2017.
Unfortunately, those bearing the brunt of the problem are the elderly, with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data showing that victims tend to lose more money to such scams the older they are, while other studies show those "over the age of 65 are more likely to have lost money due to a financial scam than someone in their 40s."
This guide from the FTC has more information about how to identify the many variants of the scam call, and what to do if you've been targeted by one.