LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about a scam.

Several western Massachusetts residents reported that they were contacted by someone claiming to be a staff member of the Sheriff’s Department. The scammers requested money to settle a warrant for missing a court appearance.

Sheriff Nick Cocchi said the Sheriff’s Office would never contact anyone in the public to ask for money over the phone. If you receive a message, hang up and report it to the local police department.

“Unfortunately it’s that time of year where again, we’re seeing an uptick in calls regarding these perennial scams trying to take advantage of people’s fear of going to jail,” said Sheriff Cocchi. “Law enforcement will never make a phone call to try and settle a warrant or related legal matter, and they would never ask for money as part of it. If you get one of these calls, just hang up.”

In a previous round of scam calls, victims were instructed to deposit cash or gift cards into a “kiosk” near the Sheriff’s office on Liberty Street in Springfield to avoid arrest.

“They were calling on behalf of Sheriff Cocchi, which he thought was ironic. He had a very southern drawl. So he knew immediately that it was a scam. But I just want people to understand that we take this very seriously. Our office would not be soliciting any money when it comes to things like that, ” said Sheriff Cocchi.

Scammers may even fake the caller ID to make it look like a call is coming from the Hampden County Sheriffs department.