The Albany County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens not to fall for a phone scam that's making the rounds.

The agency says someone claiming to be with the police department or sheriff's office is calling community members telling them they missed a court appearance or jury duty and they need to send money or a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

"Sometimes scams such as these will include spoofing a legitimate police agency phone number and using a real name of a law enforcement officer in an attempt to gain the trust of the victim," the sheriff's office said in a press release.

"No government agency of any kind takes gift cards as payment," they added.

The sheriff's office says under no circumstances will they or any other legitimate law enforcement agency call you seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants. This includes claims of unpaid federal or state taxes.

They suggest you follow these tips to help protect yourself from being scammed:

  • Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.
  • Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
  • Stay private. Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for personal information on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites.
  • Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.
  • Never wire money or provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.

If you are an Albany County resident that has fallen victim to this scam, you are encouraged to report it by calling the sheriff’s office's non-emergency line at 307-721-2526.

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