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If Lancaster County police call saying pay up or go to jail, hang up. Then call them.

No, Lancaster County law enforcement isn’t threatening dentist offices to pay up or go to jail. They won’t do it to residents either.

Several dentist offices in the county received scam calls the past several days claiming to be lieutenants with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. The caller asks for an employee by name and says there’s a warrant out for his or her arrest. The employee can avoid arrest, the caller states, by putting money on a “green dot” card and paying it to the caller.

The calls aren’t legitimate. They’re attempts to extort money.

“We want to protect our citizens from unscrupulous thieves who try to get their money through intimidation and fear,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “Be suspicious of these calls that come out of the blue and never send money to these people. Call us so we can check it out.”

The names and ranks given by the caller don’t coincide with anyone employed by the sheriff’s office, though one of the last names is the same as an officer of another rank. The sheriff’s office says neither they nor any other law enforcement agency operates the way the caller claims.

“We do not demand payment of money over the telephone and, in fact, do not collect money related to criminal charges,” according to a sheriff’s office statement. “Government agencies which do collect money do not require unusual and alternate forms of payment such as green dot cards or iTunes cards.”

Anyone getting such a call shouldn’t send money or provide personal information. Getting as much information as possible about the caller is helpful. Then, the sheriff’s office says, call actual law enforcement and report the incident.

The sheriff’s office can be reached at 803-283-3388 or online at lacoso.net. Midlands Crimestoppers can be contacted at 888-274-6372 or online at midlandscrimestoppers.com.

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